TAHOE CITY, Calif. — We are the North Tahoe Lakers by name, but by mascot we are recognized by a mythological figure holding a trident; an extended arm of either Poseidon or Neptune.
From a mythology standpoint, this is someone who stirs the seas, but who has the “teeth” to stop the absolute mayhem that could pass with any swirling storm (the perfect protector of a middle school).
Simply put, these teeth are a weapon to destroy evil and restore order. The reality is that we have been blessed with another more symbolic mascot here at North Tahoe School.
He is of canine decent and truly possesses the sharpest of teeth, but these dental weapons are rarely shown, except for that rare occasion while he is on the hunt for something really good to eat in the North Tahoe School yard during lunchtime.
His name is Ellery, North Tahoe’s true mascot and true restorer of order. He restores order not by dental or vicious force, but by presence alone.
He is a neighborhood dog who loyally and daily sits on our steps, who greets us with charm and warmth each morning, who follows his favorite bus driver, Jane, as she pulls into the parking lot, who perks up when his friend Cole arrives with a hug and sometimes a treat, who roams the playground keeping peace.
Even in his aging state, through rain, snow or shine, Ellery makes the daily trek and walk around the school. He is a dog with an extensive love for North Tahoe and most of all North Tahoe students and staff.
Without a doubt, Ellery is a mascot of North Tahoe Middle School not because we have all voted on that, not because there is a school sweatshirt with his picture or paw print on it, but because he arrives every day to school, most times before the buses, and greets each student one-by-one as they arrive, with an accepting heart and welcoming personality.
He is our school mascot because he represents a sense of peace and neutrality in the world. No one fights Ellery and no one tells him, “No Dogs Allowed.” He has claimed North Tahoe as his own and we humbly accept. He calms the turbulent seas here at North Tahoe with his innate tenderness and his willingness to be a part of all our lives. He puts himself out there allowing hundreds of people to pet him, hug him, feed him a treat, rub his belly, or just say, “ Hi Ellery.”
This recognition alone can lift one’s spirits as they leave the home existence and enter the demands of the school/work environment. He brings social and emotional restoration to the school world. We are passive at his feet because he represents innocence and acceptance.
On Tuesday, April 15, Ellery turned 15 years old. While we don’t know all the journeys and adventures he has been on, we know he is welcome on our school steps anytime, we know he deserves a sincere thank you for all the goodness he has bestowed, and we all wish him a very happy birthday.
Marcia Tierney is an eighth-grade English language arts and social studies Spanish two-way immersion instructor.