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East African Elementary Selects a New Mascot and Creates Unique Partnership

East African Elementary Selects a New Mascot and Creates Unique Partnership

Starting from scratch, Saint Paul Public School's new East African Elementary Magnet School (EAMS) staff had many items on its to-do list. One of the most important that involved students? Picking a school mascot to express their identity and build community.

The 5th-grade students researched animals, a vote was taken and Geri the Giraffe was selected as the school’s mascot. Not only are giraffes found in Africa, but Geri is the Somali word for giraffe.

On the day Geri the Giraffe was selected, EAMS Principal Dr. Abdisalam Adam attended an event hosted by the Fridley Schools Foundation. A resident of Fridley and a former school board member, Adam knew that Hayes Elementary School’s mascot was also a giraffe. He shared this news with Fridley Superintendent Brenda Lewis and suggested partnering with Hayes for students to learn more about each other, and giraffes. Lewis agreed and connected Adam with Hayes Elementary Principal Gaeli Iverson.

“The rest is history,” Adam said.

On March 20, 4th-grade students from both schools attended a Fridley Schools School Board meeting. There the principals exchanged gifts to celebrate the new partnership. Representatives from EAMS gave Hayes students a koor, a bell used to track camels, and a wooden camel. Representatives from Hayes gave EAMS students artwork they made with words that describe giraffes, a poster welcoming the students to their “tower” (a word used for a group of giraffes) and notebooks and giraffe pens.

As part of the partnership, the EAMS and Hayes 4th grade students will become pen pals, trading letters about their schools as well as giraffe character traits and learning the word in different languages.