Mascot of Pelham Memorial High School

The Pelican

A few years after the opening of Pelham Memorial High School in 1922 Pelham adopted the Pelican as its mascot. 

Pelham's pelican mascot is believed to have been derived from the Pell Family Coat of Arms (as shown at right).  The Pelican had long been a symbol of self-sacrifice because of the ancient legend dating back to the second century AD that the bird would pierce its own breast to feed its young (as shown at the top of the Pell crest).  For this reason, the Pelican was a fitting symbol and mascot for Pelham Memorial High School after it was built as a memorial to those who fought and died in the First World War.

Photo of Pell Coat of Arms in the Pelham Town Historian Collection.

The students of the new Pelham Memorial High School began publishing the Pelican yearbook in 1925, replacing an earlier publication the Magnet.  The Pelican image as shown in this 1926 yearbook was repeated in successive editions through 1929 and became the mascot imprint on some sports uniforms in later years, as seen below. 

Photo of 1926 Pelican yearbook in the Pelham Town Historian Collection.

The Pelican appeared as a mascot on the PMHS marching band in 1927

Photo from the Pelican yearbook 1926 in the Pelham Town Historian Collection.

The Pelican mascot for PMHS was further cemented after Jordan C. Smith, PMHS '29, wrote the school fight song, he called "The Pelican Parade."

Click here for more about Jordan Smith and "The Pelican Parade"

Photo of The Pelican Parade sheet music in the Pelham Town Historian Collection.

The Pelican showed up on school athletic uniforms starting with the Cheerleaders and the Basketball team in 1936 and 1937 and then the swim team and track team in 1938.

Photos:  from the Pelican yearbooks, 1936, 1937 and 1938 in the Pelham Town Historian Collection.

The Pelham Pelican Over the Last Century:

The Pelican has been adapted to reflect varying roles, here shown in scholarly pursuit in this image from the 1938 Pelican yearbook.

As the second World War raged in Europe and United States involvement was looking inevitable, the Pelham Pelican was cast into this patriotic image in the 1941 Pelican yearbook.

Pelham's Pelican took on a more modern form in this image from the 1960 yearbook.

The Pelican mascot in live costume, 1988

Student artists continue to come up with new depictions of Pelham's Pelican, like this recent one by Eddie Livingston.

Pelham's latest mascot depiction.

As part of the 2021-22 PMHS Centennial Celebration, the Town of Pelham Public Library sponsored an ice sculpture event to capture the image of Pelham's beloved mascot. 

Arthur L. Scinta, Town Historian

Mailing Address:
Pelham Town Hall, 34 Fifth Avenue, Pelham, NY 10803
Office Address:

Daronco Town House, 20 Fifth Avenue
Pelham, NY 10803, US

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