"Streaky the Bear" officially becomes a member of the SHS Class of 1965!
"Streaky Bear" has represented the spirit and pride of the Sandusky Schools for 50 years and it seems only fitting that on this special occasion of the Class of '65's 50th Reunion special recognition be given.
Every Senior from the 1964-65 Cheerleading Squad, responsible for the addition of an official school mascot to SHS traditions the Fall of 1964, was on hand at the 50th Reunion to formally induct "Streaky" into the Class of 1965.
The cheerleaders (still Seniors, but in a different sort of way LOL!) are from left to right, Bea Smith-Van Meter, Jackie White-Day, Kathy Silcox-Holmes (Captain, Jenny Till-Schoewe, and Betty Jo Palazzo-Woodruff.
Streaky turns 50 years old!
Sandusky High's School's mascot, an idea born during the "Sensational Sixties" by members of the Class of 1965, celebrates fifty years as an enduring symbol of school spirit and community pride. The Sandusky School district took time out of their community meeting on October 29, 2014 to honor "Streaky", recall his history, and celebrate Sandusky's Sensational Spirit! The Class of '65 was well represented by spokesperson, Judy Lewis Corso; video conference call with former Cheerleading Captain, Kathy Silcox Holmes; spokesperson, former Cheerleader and one of the art students who helped build the first Streaky, Bea Smith Van Meter, and classmate Jim Jackson.
Streaky the Bear was a vision born from the 1964-65 cheerleading squad as one of several new ideas students promoted during that time. The Class of 1964 is noted for designing a school logo used for many years as the official brand of the high school. The Class of 1965 added a school mascot idea. Being the "Streaks", as a streak of lightning, posed some challenges from a cheer perspective... it's difficult to "animate" a streak. Having an animal mascot opened up new possibilities for both two-dimensional and three dimensional designs to be used to promote school spirit.
Cheerleading captain, Kathy Silcox Holmes, brought the bear idea to the cheer squad during summer cheerleading practices based on her knowledge of "Buzzy the Bear", a 1950's Medina High School mascot. The cheerleaders planned to introduce a stuffed bear, white with a blue/white beret during the basketball season. The bear was featured in pre-game cheers, sat with the Pep Club during home games and traveled with the squad to all the away games. Although the bear was planned to be first introduced during basketball season, the idea caught on early during football season. He started to appear as a two dimension design on Senior Spirit badges worn on Football Fridays and in ads in the school newspaper, the Sandusky Hi-lites, promoting the annual Fall dance, the Pigskin Parade.
The bear first appeared as a three dimensional character as the centerpiece of the Pigskin Parade in November 1964. Senior art students, under the guidance of art student teacher, Don Nath, built the oversized bear before the Pigskin in Mr. Nath's mother's garage as a paper mache structure. He was painted as a brown bear wearing a white letter sweater with the number "65", representing the Class of 1965, painted on his shoulder. Although the plan was for a white bear, brown was the chosen color as it was the best accent to the letter sweater planned in the design. As with all letter sweaters of that day, the owner of the sweater had his/her name stitched in white on a blue patch. By this time, it was clear the bear's name was "Streaky" and is most appropriately labeled on his sweater.
During this time, Streaky was always referred to as "STREAKY THE BEAR", although in more recent times he is simply called "Streaky Bear". The paper mache bear figure only was used twice during this school year and is the image most recognizable to members of the Class of 1965 as "our bear". Unfortunately due to his construction using massive amounts of paper mache, quick coatings of paint, and less than desirable drying times... Streaky caught a bad case of "mold" and never recovered. From this point on, Streaky the Bear's image was as a white bear.
Streaky the Bear's image has been in continuous use as a symbol of Sandusky Spirit and Pride since introduced during the 1964-65 school year. That first year, Streaky appeared in at least five different forms, size, and colors. Since then he has continued a variety of transformations to meet the various needs and interests of the students...but he has always represented the same sense of school spirit and pride Sandusky Schools has as part of it's long tradition. Mr. Don Nath continued with the school system as an art teacher and was again a guiding source to future students as he helped shaped the image of Streaky and coordinated the construction of the first mascot costume head (Class of 1967) built for students to wear as they brought Streaky to life. The mascot costume was originally worn by cheerleaders as part of the cheer squad. Today's Streaky costume is worn by both male and female students, their identity a secret until the end of the school year. "Streaky Bear" as he is called today, is in frequent demand at various sporting, school and community events. The Class of 1965 can share with great pride that an idea 50 years ago has endured the test of time and still remains a symbol of school spirit.
It is fitting that the Class of 1965's motto, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm" can be shared with our honorary classmate. We wish "Streaky THE Bear" a wonderful 50th Birthday with many more to come!
SHS 1964-65 Varsity Cheerleading Squad that introduced "Streaky the Bear" to Sandusky as part of their cheer routines. - Jackie White, Bea Smith, Betty Jo Palazzo, Kathy Ross, Jenny Till and Kathy Silcox.
Kathy Silcox, Cheerleading Captain, brought the idea of a "bear" mascot to Sandusky from Medina, Ohio
The "Sensational Sixties" were a fun, spirited time at SHS. "Streaky the Bear" was added to a long list of other fan-friendly traditions that made school and sports a great time for the entire community. The SHS Pep Club with 110 members cheered with the cheerleaders and their new mascot, a stuffed white bear with a blue and white striped beret.
After we graduated, our mascot Streaky, stayed in school! There he went through many different versions of the basic white bear/letter sweater image...but fortunately, his spirit always remained the same. Streaky is definitely LOYAL to his school!
We believe around 1966, the line drawing of Streaky was redrawn more professionally by then art teacher, Mr. Don Nath. This image remains today as the most recognizable version of our bear. Occasionally he might have streaks or sport symbols added to his hands, but the pose and expression remain.
We also know that an updated, mold-proof version of our three-dimensional bear emerged around 1967. It was a large bear head worn by the cheerleaders at games. Stories have been told of how hot and heavy it was, but that never deterred a spirited bunch of cheerleaders.
The "live" mascot has continued through to today with many different costume updates. The most recent mascots have been "secret" students... and so the spirit lives on! If anyone has pictures of different mascot versions, we would love to have copies to post on this website. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share.
The Class of '65 continues to remember "our Streaky". In August 2012 many of our classmates celebrated a 65th birthday, so we held a Birthday Party for ourselves..."Class of '65 Turns 65". Of course we remembered our bear, too.
And even though Streaky wasn't turning 65 years old, we thought he deserved a Medicare Card since we all had to get one then...
...and in 2015 when we gather to celebrate our 50th Class Reunion "Streaky" will be formally inducted as an Honorary Members of the SHS Class of 1965!
The very first images of "Streaky the Bear" appeared in hand-made spirit signs made by the cheerleaders during football season 1964 and worn by the Senior students. The bear appears as a white bear with a blue sweater, which was actually a piece of colored construction paper, cut out, labeled and glued to each individual bear image also individually cut out. There were very few of these as they took a long time to make.
Also that Fall, images of "Streaky" began to appear in the school newspaper, "the Sandusky Hi-Lites". While the bear is still white, the letter sweater starts to appear more like a real letter sweater, white with a dark (for blue) varsity letter and hip banding at the waist.
Here "Streaky the Bear" is advertising the annual "Pigskin Parade". This is significant for the bear, as this will be the first appearance of "Streaky" as a three-dimensional figure.
The "Pigskin Parade" was NEVER a PARADE, something that has often been confused in recent years. (or maybe "we" were confused by calling it a "parade" :) The Pigskin was the closest thing we had to having a "Homecoming".
The Pigskin was a dance sponsored by the Varsity "S" Club and cheerleaders in honor of both the football and cross country teams, our only Fall Sports back then. The cost was $.25 and all SHS students were invited. The school newspaper states, "girls usually wear a wool dress of some type, and boys come in sport coats or suits". The varsity cheerleaders were all "crowned " with cut paper crowns and were featured in a highlight dance. The school dance band provided all the music. The "Pigskin Parade" was the highlight of the fall sports season and it is very significant that it was at this event our "Streaky the Bear" was introduced as the centerpiece.
The image of "Streaky the Bear" most associated with the Class of 1965 is from the Pigskin Parade. This photo, from the 1965 SHS Yearbook, shows a large brown bear with white letter sweater, the only time Streaky would be designed as a brown bear. Normally a varsity letter would have a symbol of the sport centered on the "S", but because he was representing fall sports this was left blank. He does have the traditional "name badge" on the sweater bottom and a number "65" on his shoulder.
Made of paper mache, he holds a real football and a flag. Because of his size and type of construction, he could only stay upright with the aid of wire supports secured to a platform on wheels. At the base you'll see both a football helmet and cleats.
When the 1964-65 Basketball season started, the cheerleaders introduced a much smaller version of "Streaky" into their cheer routines. His design as a white bear returned to the original plan, and he has remained some version of the white bear for the past 50 years.
Streaky the Bear makes his way from the garage art students built him to center stage at the Pigskin Parade in November 1964 for his first official appearance. Helping with the transport are seniors Jim Eiselstein (left) and Richard Schweck (third from left) and underclassmen Jim Collins and Robert Brown. Streaky was built by seniors Bea Smith, Jenny Till, and other art students. Streaky was never in a "parade", he just went to the annual Fall "dance" called the "Pigskin Parade".
The second, and last, time this version of Streaky appeared was also during the Fall of 1964. At the annual Blue Streak Booster Club banquet honoring the football team he was photographed with then SHS head football coach, Bob Seamon and guest speaker and football coach Doyt Perry from Bowling Green State University.
Soon after this appearance, "Streaky the Bear" came down with a bad case of "mold" and was never to be seen in that form again.