The perfect mascot for FAST
When the Friendship Academy of Science and Technology opened last year, principal Ian Roberts didn’t want the new Baltimore City school to have a run-of-the-mill mascot for its sports teams. He saw an obvious creative choice -- one that no other public school in Maryland had.
If you're FAST, you must be a cheetah.
“The school’s acronym spells out FAST, so we thought, ‘OK, fine. Which mascot should we go with? What mascot exemplifies fast and speed?’ In addition to that, that was one of my favorite animals as a track athlete. I always equated speed with the cheetah, so there are two pieces in choosing the mascot, the acronym of the school and we always want to remind our students that they are on the fast track,” Roberts said.
With his “personal bias,” Roberts said with a laugh, he may have “strong armed” the staff and students a bit when it came to choosing the mascot. He, however, knows a little something about speed.
A 2000 Olympian, Roberts reached the quarterfinals of the 800 meters, but he was tripped up and did not advance. The native New Yorker was a multiple All-American at Coppin State and at St. John’s. Now, he assists track coach Greg Burley whenever he can.
The school, which includes grades six, seven, nine and ten, had a pretty good JV track program last spring. The girls, led by Bobbie Jones, Otencia Vanzie and Deanna Morgan won the city’s innovative schools’ league while Brendan Thomas led the boys to third place.
Next spring, the track team will be a varsity squad competing in the city league. The Cheetahs also plan to compete in indoor track this winter.
Personally, I wouldn’t count out any track team called the Cheetahs.