By Melody Cosgrove
We are the Beaverton Beavers of Beaverton High School in the Beaverton School District in the city of Beaverton. Did I mention we like beavers here? Because we like beavers.
With so much “beaver” in one sentence, it’s a mouthful to say. And BHS students are often referred to as “Beavs.” If you’ve listened to the announcements or been on the Instagram page, you know what I’m talking about.
While I recognize that “Beavs” is a quick abbreviation, that doesn’t mean I like it. I enjoy being a Beaver. I do not enjoy being a Beav. “Beav” sounds like a misuse of slang, similar to when adults attempt to use outdated slang in hopes of seeming cool.
“Beav” only cuts out three letters of “Beavers,” or a single syllable. I would understand if our mascot had a longer name—like Komodo Dragons or Erethizon dorsatum—but our mascot is Bucky the Beaver. “Beavers” is seven letters long. Two syllables. It’s not hip to cut two letters out. It’s annoying and lazy. Nobody will trip over adding “ers” to the end of “Beav.” Imagine our mascot was Tyler the Turtle. Would you want to be called a “Turt”?
The issues with “Beav” are worsened by the frequency at which the term is used. Nearly every Instagram post asking students to check out a new opportunity starts with “Hey, Beavs!” Yes, it’s easy to write in the same phrase every time, and it’s recognizable. But is it that hard to come up with something more eye-catching and creative? At some point, “Hey Beavs!” becomes white noise.
Beavers make good mascots. They’re builders and innovators, exactly the way we want our student body to be viewed. But “Beavs” has none of these connotations. Instead, it sounds like a nickname a child would invent if they couldn’t pronounce a word correctly. It strips our mascot of its status as an idea around which to build school pride.
This isn’t to say that everyone has to stop using the word “Beav.” But please, be mindful of how much it’s used.
Photo courtesy of Melody Cosgrove. The sun shines on the BHS sign at the entrance of the main school parking lot.