Fairmont mascot sparks the Firebird spirit

Fairmont mascot sparks the Firebird spirit

The newest Sparky has the true look of a Firebird.

From sporting events to pep rallies and other student-led activities, there’s always one face that is recognized: the school mascot. At Fairmont, Sparky is always on duty, keeping the student body energized with spirit.

Sparky was born in 1984, when Fairmont East and Fairmont West high schools were combined. The two previous mascots were a Falcon (East) and a Dragon (West).

“The reason he is called Sparky is because when we put both Kettering high schools together in the ‘80s, we had to come up with a new mascot,” said Carrie Kihn, the Competition Cheerleading coach who is in charge of Sparky. “The combined student council at the time thought of Sparky because of our new name, the Firebirds. They thought it went with fire.”

Despite popular beliefs, Sparky isn’t portrayed by one specific person. “We interview applicants and get some teacher recommendations about those students,” said Kihn.

The process is very selective and each of the students selected needs to be perfect for the job. “The person has to be able to interact with the fans and children. He or she will learn some of the cheers we do also. Sparky should be peppy and fun and have a lot of personality,” said Kihn.

There have been three versions of the Sparky costume. The initial costume was deemed a bit dull; the Junior Class Council ordered a new costume that was intended to be more fun.

But when the second version of Sparky was unveiled in the early 1990s, students were underwhelmed. They thought it looked more like a chicken, thus giving rise to the name “Fire Chicken.” The fans and coaches wanted something that looked fiercer and stronger.

The current costume – which makes Sparky look more like an eagle than a chicken – was introduced during a pep rally in 1994.

Even though the costume has gone through changes, one thing has remained and that is the level of spirit. Senior Emma Mote has been Sparky a few times this year, and she’s enjoyed every second of it.

“I love being Sparky,” she said. “I was Sparky at the Alter football game, and it’s great being in front of the crowd and getting them pumped up.”

Most students are used to the traditional football or basketball experience and being in the stands with everyone else. “Being Sparky was definitely a fun way to mix it up,” said Mote.

No matter how much Sparky has changed since Fairmont East and West were brought together, everyone can agree on one thing. “People are happy that the Firebird was born,” said Kihn.