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Who is Winnie B?

date 11/10/2015

from Winn Brook School Newsletter

Winn Brook Mascot Winnie-B
You may have noticed the giraffe which has taken up residence in the front lobby of the Winn Brook school.   Our affinity for this species began in 2004 with a bulletin board  which encouraged students to stick their necks out and help others.  During a PTA sponsored Art Night, our art teacher  surprised us all  with the wire frame of a giraffe.  During the course of the evening, one square of paper at a time, the giraffe took shape.  Everyone who entered the art studio was invited to become involved in process of applying the paper mache to the frame.   We began to think of the giraffe as our school mascot and affectionately named her Winnie B. 

In my mind, our mascot has come to symbolize a number of important aspects of our school community.  The giraffe, and our bulletin board slogan, remind me of the importance of service.  Not only do we want to support our children’s learning in academic areas, we work to help them be kind, caring, respectful and compassionate human beings.  We try to teach them to give back to their school community, the Belmont community, and to be responsible citizens in a global community.

The phrase, “stick your neck out” also suggests risk taking and the willingness to “stretch ourselves” as we try something challenging.  Risk taking, in the intellectual sense, is something that we value.  We ask students to take risks everyday when we have them participate in a play, share their writing, or explain their mathematical reasoning to the class.  As educators, we also take risks when we experiment with new methodologies, learn to use new technologies, and put our ideas “out there” as we collaborate with one another.  By challenging ourselves in these ways, we grow as individuals and as a school community.   Within the context of a safe learning environment, we gain confidence from our successes and learn from our mistakes.   We learn the power of persistence.

Lastly, our mascot constantly reminds me of her humble beginnings as a lump of wire.  She was born from collaborative effort.  Many, many hands gave her shape and character. All were invited to participate.  Collaboration also serves to shape our school community.   Central administration provides a strong  framework.  Parents and staff join together to shape and strengthen our school.  Students serve as the glue that unites us.  Our collaboration and interconnectedness as a school community  makes us stronger, more resilient, and better able to face the challenges that each new year brings.

Winnie-B Mural  
After eleven years residing in our lobby, Winnie B is beginning to sag and crack.  In an effort to keep her spirit  alive, we have painted the head of our beloved giraffe on wall of the gymnasium lobby.   We hope that it will be a constant reminder to “stick our necks out” and help others.