If one was asked to list five characteristics of any school, somewhere in the top five both mascot and school colors would appear on the list. Across the state and country these mascots and colors are more than just a school's ability to define who they are, they are embroidered in the fabric of the community in which they reside. Marquees, water towers, and even restaurants proudly display the "Home of the (insert mascot here)." I would argue that it is safe to say that unless your school was formed via consolidation over the past few decades (Thayer Central, Howells-Dodge, Heartland) or due to large urban growth (Papillion-La Vista South, Lincoln Northstar, Elkhorn South) the history and story behind the selection of the school colors and mascot may be lost the annals of time.
This year Milford High School is celebrating its 125 graduating class. In preparation for this momentous occasion, the district has been collecting stories, pictures, yearbooks, and other artifacts to include in a variety of events and publications. As someone that is interested in history, I have found this project interesting, fun, yet extremely frustrating at times.
Recently, I came across a yearbook from 1928, which was very informative yet I realized that the term Eagles was never used. The next yearbook found was from 1945 where not only was the mascot Eagles used throughout the book it was the name of the yearbook. This got me thinking about what is the history of our mascot. Why the Eagles? Why purple and white? When did we even become the Eagles?
After doing some local research, I found that Milford has had a local paper since 1884 and they are on microfiche at the Nebraska State Historical Society. After making the short trip to Lincoln and spending five hours this past weekend digging through papers from the 1920's and 30's, I was able to locate the first reference to the Eagles on November 5, 1931 in the local paper called the "The Milford Review." Throughout the 1931 basketball season only one more reference was made in regards to the Eagles being the mascot. No other information could be found as to why the Eagles was selected as our mascot. Sometime between 1930 and 1931 a decision had to be made as to why Eagles was selected over a Tiger, Hawk, or variety of other animals or characters.
However, while researching I was able to read up on a variety of stories about MHS that I was unaware of and I would venture to say the vast majority of community members didn't know about either. Such facts include: Milford had an official girls basketball team in the mid 1920's and the 1925-26 was undefeated, MHS won the first state cross country meet ever held in Nebraska on Thanksgiving Day 1922, and that a group of Milford Ag students placed 2nd at the World Stock Show Ag Exposition in Chicago in 1924. This only left me only yearning for more but mainly I still wanted to know why the Eagles?
School mascots and colors are a major part of schools story but I would assume most communities don't know the story as to why they are called who they are and bear the colors they do. I would encourage you to look into your mascots and school colors and if you are lucky enough to find out why they came to be, write it down and share it for the next generation of students who come through your doors. Unless I am able to stumble upon some information I currently can't find, the story of the Purple and White Eagles will continue to be a great story lost to time. #milfordsoar
Milford Jr/Sr High Principal