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It had to be the ‘Bars’

Johnson City Press • Mar 1, 2019 at 12:01 PM

If Chicago can claim “Da Bears,” Boones Creek certainly can claim “The Bars.”

The debate over whether the new Boones Creek School under construction should retain its traditional mascot’s name never should have been a debate at all.

In case y’all ain’t from around here, “Bars” is an ode to Boones Creek’s place in history. Trailblazer Daniel Boone carved one of his famous misspelled markers, “D. Boon cilled a bar in year 1760,” on a beech tree in the community that now bears his name (pun intended). For generations, Boones Creek Middle School, which had been Boones Creek High School before the county consolidated high schools in the 1970s, has used the misspelled critter’s name as its mascot.

Sure, a school is not a place you’d normally promote a misspelled word. After all, if a pupil spelled “bear” that way on a test, a schoolteacher would grab the red pen in a heartbeat. That’s why some proponents had argued that a move to the new K-8 school building afforded Washington County the opportunity to correct the misspelling and dub the mascot “the Bears.”

Six Board of Education members, though, were having none of it. They voted Wednesday in a special session to keep “the Bars.”

It was the right decision. Let’s not be so uppity when it comes to our heritage.

As school board member Chad Fleenor put it, Boones Creek likely is the only school in America known as “the Bars.”

“I know some people are like, ‘What’s a Bar?’” Fleenor said. “Well, that gives us the opportunity to stand up, puff our chest out a little bit, and say, ‘Right here is what a Bar is. This is where we come from.’ I love it here, and maybe that’s part of why my passion is so strong on this, but it’s just something I feel very fortunate that we are different.”

Schools must teach far more than spelling, and not enough of our children know American history as well as they should. That’s even more true of local and regional history.

If a misspelling prompts someone to learn a little more about Daniel Boone and his place in Northeast Tennessee’s history, by all means misspell away. Even the strictest of educators should recognize that history and tradition matter as much to a child’s education as correct spelling.

Long live the Boones Creek Bars!

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