ELLINWOOD — Little blue people swarmed the crowds at Ellinwood High School at recent games, advancing spirit and excitement, and radiating the golden treasure of positive energy for Ellinwood fans.
The Ellinwood drummers play a cadence that ends in a call and response to the sound of E-What...E-Wood!
E-Wood is the students’ nickname for Ellinwood and the E-Whats? are nine students dressed up in old Ellinwood sports uniforms over blue suits. They lead the student section in cheers and chants.
“It’s a fun way to get people excited,” said Shawn Henderson, principal of Ellinwood High School, whose idea it was to start the E-Whats?.
The first away game, there were 37 students who rode the pep bus, which is a crowd compared to previous years.
Building suspense by keeping the names of the students a deep, dark secret, the students involved are slowly being revealed. Of course E-Whats? don’t talk, except when they are out of costume.
The E-What’s enjoy the anonymity too. They can be whoever they want to be in the costumes.
Henderson has reminded the students that they are a walking billboard, representing the school district.
The spirit is spreading to other students. “New kids are wanting to be a part of it,” said Henderson. “Kids are happy to be here and a lot of problems melt away.”
The miming is empowering the students in the language spoken by body movement and by pumping up the crowd.
The E-What students all agreed that there is more school spirit. They are all involved in sports and activities themselves.
“I love doing it,” said one E-What, whose name won’t be revealed. “The reaction I get from the other team makes them jealous.”
The stands at the football games are completely full. “Grade schoolers want to be you,” said another E-What?.
The building of the E-What? mascots hasn’t been an easy road. The E-What? costumes are expensive, Henderson admits. Plus, there are practical concerns such as how to wash the costume.
Henderson has opened up the room full of old Ellinwood gear for the students to wear to games.
Summing it up, Henderson said, “We want the kids to become leaders.”