ACS aligns middle, high school mascots for 2018-19 school year

AMS faculty and staff pose under the Bobcat mascot mural on the last day of this school year. Courtesy photo.

ARLINGTON, Tenn. – Arlington Community Schools is changing its middle school mascot for the upcoming school year, and the district has also provided information on its award-winning student musicians.

AMS transitions from Bobcat to Tiger mascot

For 18 years, Arlington Middle School has sported the bobcat as its mascot.

When the school opened in 2000, the district administration, then part of Shelby County Schools, tasked then-principal Pat Prescott to make the decision. There are various theories about how the mascot was chosen.

One rumor suggests Prescott – who was busy opening the school and not exactly worried about which wild animal to choose as the school’s furry buddy – looked out the window of her office and saw a Bobcat Excavator, a mechanical shovel or digger used at construction projects. “I have an excellent idea. A bobcat!” is how we imagine Prescott telling her bosses as if she had an epiphany.

The other theory is perhaps more probable. Prior to the opening of Arlington High School, eighth-graders leaving AMS attended Bolton High School, home of the Wildcats. It’s said that Prescott chose the bobcat to “stick with the cat family.”

Regardless of the theories, and whether there’s validity to them, the Bobcat has been the assumed mascot since the turn of the millennium.

But now as AMS takes a new turn in athletics, including the addition of football as a school-sponsored sport and the new, state-of-the-art gymnasium, the school will trade in its spots for stripes, officially adopting the Tiger as the mascot come the new school year.

In May, the ACS Board of Education passed the 2018-2023 Strategic Plan, which includes the task of transitioning the mascot. The passage came after a two-month long process in which a committee, made up of district employees and community members, suggested the change.

“Now seemed like a logical time to make this transition,” said Tyler Hill, ACS communications coordinator. “The community football league that will now be school-sponsored has always used the Tiger mascot. And with the construction of a new gym, now is the best time to be cost-effective with the change.”

It also helps with consistency across the district. By August, all schools that bear the “Arlington” name will have the same mascot. Donelson Elementary will remain the Bulldogs, in part because there are no school-sponsored sports at the elementary level.

“We think this will be both an exciting time for our athletics and athletes,” Hill said. “From sixth to 12th grade, our athletes will be known as Tigers, and we hope it’s a pride and tradition they buy into.”

AMS Band, Strings and Chorus sweep competition

Arlington Middle School’s Band, Strings and Chorus teams swept a competition earlier this spring in St. Louis, Mo.

Nearly 200 AMS students performed April 27 in the Music in the Parks contest and swept the competition. AMS Band won first place in all of the band categories, including Jazz and Concert. The Symphonic Band also won the best overall band award.

Meanwhile, AMS Strings students won first place in all of the string categories, and the 8th-grade Strings won the best overall string ensemble award. Chorus also showed up at the competition and won a superior rating in their division and second place overall.

AHS chorale praised at major Florida competition

The Arlington High School Chorale Department, led by instructor Jeffrey Chipman, recently gained international notoriety at a competition in Orlando, Fla.

The competition, titled Festival Disney and held at Walt Disney World, is a highly competitive international music competition that features more than a dozen choirs, including one as far away as Japan.

Arlington’s choirs were the first to perform and “set the bar” for the entire festival, according to one of the judges.

“They said our dynamic range and expressiveness helped set that bar,” Chipman said. “Our students were not only stand outs with their vocal talents, but they were also recognized throughout the trip for their strength of character.”

The groups sang in three languages in styles from traditional classical and African American spiritual to jazz and pop. Some arrangements included “Great God Almighty” by Stacey V. Gibbs and Deke Sharon’s “Killing Me Softly.”

At the end of the competition, both the Chorale and A Major received Superior ratings and Best in Class for Mixed and Jazz Choirs, respectively.

“It is an honor and pleasure to work with such talented musicians who also happen to exemplify the highest levels of personal character in all that they do,” Chipman said. “Arlington should be very proud of their future leaders.”

AHS’ Orchestra, led by instructor Zachary Corpus, also made headway during the festival, receiving an Excellent rating and placing second overall in the High School String Orchestra category.

Additionally, the Band, directed by Timothy Simpson, was one of two selected to march during the Magic Kingdom parade.

The Chorale, Orchestra and Band departments are part of Arlington High’s PAVE Academy, a Performing Arts and Visual Fine Arts Academy that allows students to specialize in concentrated arts fields, including visual arts, film & video, vocal music, instrumental music, and speech and debate.