What's in a Name? Catholic School's Student Council Wants `Red Devil' Mascot `the Red Devil Does Not Stand for Anything Satanic'

Article excerpt

THE DEVIL is enjoying his day at Chaminade College Preparatory School.

Seven years after concerned parents drove out the Red Devil - the Catholic high school's visual but unofficial mascot - the Student Council has successfully lobbied for its return at the school, 425 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Creve Coeur.

"The Red Devil does not stand for anything satanic," said senior Chris Marsek. "It stands for enthusiasm, the spirit, the courage and the pride of Chaminade." Marsek's school spirit is clear. At football and soccer games, he wears red body paint and a red mask with horns that covers his whole head. At a recent football game, Marsek ran onto the field waving a gigantic Chaminade flag. The crowd roared with applause. Chaminade athletic programs, uniforms and publications use Flyers as the official school team name. As a visual symbolic mascot, a Flyer is usually represented as a red, winged animal. Over the years, school officials say, it has been a horse, a bird and an airplane. But off and on since 1927, the Red Devil has been used to rally school spirit. Sometime in the 1930s, the Red Devil disappeared until the '60s. Between 1960 and 1990, Chaminade had dual mascots, the Flyer and the Red Devil. Jim Gerker, the principal and a 1970 Chaminade graduate, recently wrote a letter to faculty members clarifying the school's position on the Red Devil. He also explained why the horned mascot disappeared in 1990. "There was a large concern over the growth of satanic worship among young people, and the school felt it would be appropriate to put the Red Devil to rest," Gerker wrote. Now, those concerns have diminished and the students have pushed to bring the Red Devil back. Gerker said in his letter that the Red Devil is not now, nor has it ever been, the official mascot. But if the students want to bring it back to show school spirit, he will allow it. "The Student Council went to great lengths to work for its return," Gerker wrote. …