Battle of the Eagles

Battle of the Eagles

Anastasija Petrovska, Reporter

You see them everywhere…on our cozy sweatshirts, the crowded hallways, the shifted rugs. They’re on our crusty cafeteria tables, the sweaty gym floor, and even plated in gold watching you when you enter the school.

It’s the Bethpage Golden Eagle, and it’s everywhere.

School spirit is a huge aspect of BHS, part of what makes it such a welcoming, proud, and dignified school. But what is the history behind our beloved mascot?

Well, according to Bethpage athletic director, Mr. Franchi, when the school was established in 1966, and when the difficult task of deciding a school mascot presented itself, Northrop-Grumman’s newest jet was asked to provide the inspiration. However, the name “Jets” would have interfered with the professional New York football team. Fortunately, another aircraft was being built in Bethpage at the time: the famous “Eagle” lunar lander. So, that became BHS’s final decision…our plan B.

Once the founders of our school had decided on being called the Bethpage Golden Eagles, later in 2007, it precisely fell to the district to create an image that captured the concept of freedom, courage, and strength. So what did Bethpage district decide to do?

Copy the Philadelphia Eagles, of course.

An idea dismissed years ago with the Jets was now being allowed! BHS submitted the logo of the all-too-familiar Philadelphia Eagles to be affixed to our new scoreboard. However, according to Mr. Franchi,

“When we were getting the scoreboard—from the company called Electronics—they said we can’t put that eagle on your scoreboard because it was a trademark violation from the NFL. So at that point, we adjusted it, and then they approved it.”

What is clear: the only reason we rounded the beak and changed the colors in the logo is because we got nabbed for copyright violation.

After the situation was “resolved,” there have been a few incidents here and there wherein people were obviously misled by the logo, including this reporter. Last year, I was sitting home watching the 2018 Super Bowl with my friends and family. Keep in mind I was a new student. It was an intense game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots, and after a couple of minutes it had occurred to me that on the sidebar of the television was my school’s mascot!

Additionally, Mr. Franchi recalled a story about a Bethpage a teacher who was visiting upstate, went ice skating in BHS gear, and got called out by Philadelphia Eagles hater. She then had to explain that we were just a small school in Long Island in order to escape with her safety intact.

So, were we justified in “borrowing” the Philadelphia Eagles’ mascot?

Mr. Franchi provided a few justifications as to why we kept the mascot. First, he argued that although we are “playing with fire,” he was assured by a friend—who worked in the NFL—who said that it’s the “last thing on their minds,” and they’re not going to “go after a high school.” Furthermore, we contemplated the issue and altered two distinct aspects of the logo, and Mr. Franchi said, “We didn’t steal it. We used it has inspiration.”

Now, onto the opinion/editorial portion of this article:
We teach kids not to plagiarize…yet we plagiarize our own logo. Take, for instance, plagiarizing on a research paper. If a student plagiarized, he/she would receive a zero, so shouldn’t the school set a good example.

What about if the student changes a few words, now would that student get in trouble if they plagiarized?

Well, Mr. Franchi complained that he didn’t want to change it the logo, even if it might set a horrible example.
“I like it,” he said. This is evidenced by his office, walls, reclining chairs, coffee tables, conference tables, and many more displays of the infamous Eagle glaring down at visitors. However, although I do agree with Mr. Franchi that the logo is great, I do not like the unethical origin behind it.

According to Irene Pfeffer, a sophomore on BHS kickline team, a club that represents the school spirit and love, feels that besides the expense issue, many students including herself would not be in favor of a change.

“I do not believe we would have the same school spirit,” Irene said. “I think students would not appreciate a new logo since we have been used to the same one for a very long time.”

However, other students like Isabella Bogolyubsky agrees, and likes the idea of a “BHS student artist designing the new logo.”
It’s ultimately, up to the students to decide. But, why should our schools hypocritical actions influence how we see.

Final thought… it’s called “originality.” We should embrace and promote it.