High school sports are a staple of life in Illinois. Thousands of children and teenagers have the opportunities to compete, learn life lessons, and have fun outside of the normal classroom routine. Extra-curricular activities are a vital part of the overall educational experience. Many communities are defined by their schools, and mascot names can be derived from local history or culture. When it comes to mascot names, Illinois school districts show off their creative identities in many ways, and there are over 150 unique names.
Animal-themed mascot names are very popular, of course, with the most popular names used by multiple districts being the Eagles, Wildcats, Panthers, Bulldogs and Tigers. There are a number of unique animal nicknames, including the Goreville Blackcats, St. Bede Bruins, Georgetown-Ridge Farm Buffaloes, Fisher Bunnies, Mt. Caramel Caravan, Whitney Young Dolphins, Mansueto Leopards, Fairfield Mules, South Fork Ponies, Carbondale Terriers, Crystal Lake South Gators, and St. Ignatius Wolfpack.
Birds are also very popular, with Cardinals and Hawks topping the list of most-used. Unique bird nicknames include the PORTA Blue Jays, Curie Condors, North Grand Eagle Owls, Wethersfield Flying Geese, Southwestern Piasa Birds and North Chicago Warhawks.
Illinois is known for its agriculture, food, and crops, and several schools portray that with their nicknames. Examples include the Hoopeston Area Cornjerkers, Farmington Farmers, Cobden Appleknockers, New Berlin Pretzels, Freeport Pretzels, and Serena Huskers.
Other one-of-a-kind nicknames include: Centralia Orphans and Orphan Annies, Polo Marcos, Evanston Wildkits, Antioch Sequoits, Plano Reapers, DeKalb Barbs, Hampshire Whip-Purs, Zion-Benton Zee-Bees, Freeburg Midgets, IVC Grey Ghosts, Argo Argonauts, Morrisonville Mohawks, Teutopolis Wooden Shoes and Effingham Flaming Hearts.
Even the colleges and universities in Illinois show off their uniqueness, with the University of Illinois Fighting Illini, Western Illinois University Leathernecks and Southern Illinois-Carbondale Salukis just to name three. The University of Illinois-Springfield Prairie Stars are another one-of-a-kind example. When it comes to mascots, Illinois is home to some of the most diverse nicknames in the U.S.
–How To Pay for College–
The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) manages multiple college programs that help students understand their options for paying college tuition.