Why Sammies & Suzies?

Who created our schools mascots?

One+of+Al+Banxs+original+caricatures+of+the+Suzies+dragging+the+Sammies+to+victory.

Aubrey LaPointe, Staff Writer

Like me, I am sure many of you are wondering where on Earth did our school mascots, the Sammies and Suzies, come from. So, I am here to answer some of your burning questions. Who created them? When? Why?

In order to fully capture the importance of the Sammies and Suzies you have to understand who created them.

The Sammies and Suzies were created by a cartoon artist from the Telegram and Gazette, Al Banx. Born James Albert Banks, he was Mr. Worcester Everyman from the beginning to end of his 44-year career. Mr. Worcester Everyman? Yes, the polite, well mannered guy with a full time job as a cartoonist. His caricatures of local sports teams gave many the nicknames they still use today. 

For instance, Banx bestowed the Dandies nickname on Auburn, Light Brigade on Uxbridge, Terriers on Holden, and, the Colonials on Shrewsbury. Most have come and gone, but the Sammies and Suzies live on.

Many different kinds of people in the school community have different opinions on this topic. Some think that the mascot should stay the same. Others would rather the mascot be changed slightly, or that it should be changed completely.

Some people who don’t play school sports may not be as passionate about our school mascots as some other athletes. We don’t normally get to hear the point of view of a person who doesn’t play a school sport, but, of course, their opinions still matter in our school community. 

An example of this is a freshman who doesn’t play school sports. I asked her if she ever thinks about the mascots and if they really effect her. Her response was “I don’t really care about the mascots to be honest, but I do wish they were a little cooler.”

I also interviewed another student who does play a sport. He says, “The Sammies have always been there and are kinda iconic.”

As you can tell, some may be more enthusiastic about our mascot than others. But it is also not her fault, she may not get the full Sammies and Suzies experience as a non-athlete. Later in the interview he also says, “I don’t really know what Sammy is.” This is why it is so important to know the history behind our schools mascot.

I also interviewed a female athlete to see what she thought of her Suzies and she believes that the mascots could use a little update. She says that “I think it is promoting the old stereotype of women being weak, vulnerable girls in need of a man to protect them. . . it’s outdated and inadvertently makes the Suzies look less important and less powerful than the Sammies.”

With how the Sammies and Suzies are portrayed now, she is right. But how we see them now is not accurate. The Suzies were originally meant to be a powerful country woman who dominates her opponents. And the Sammies? The Sammies are an old man, not just holding a gun, but many other objects.

Another person who is very important to hear from is out principal, Mr. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy has obviously been apart of the school for decent amount of time and is very important in our schools community. 

In his interview, Mr. McCarthy states that some people have proposed to change the mascot, but nothing much has come of it. One name that he said did get proposed was the Sutton Generals.

He also said that, in regards to the fact that our mascot is an old man with a gun and a little girl with a flower, “They would not be the mascots that people would come up with in 2022.” (Even though Mr. McCarthy says this, he is not advocating for changing our mascots)

“Anyone can have the tigers as a mascot. . . giving our mascot a tie to the Blackstone Valley or Worcester County or Sutton, would provide a different level of uniqueness to our school,” Mr. McCarthy says in his interview.

One of the major factors that makes the mascots controversial is Suzie.  In 2022, we portray Suzie as a dainty little girl, but in reality she was designed to be a fierce athlete who dominated any and all competition. 

In many of her original drawings from Al Banx, Suzie is seen dragging or carrying Sam whilst yelling at him. This is because in 1961-65, the time these caricatures were being created and displayed, Howie Bottomly, one of Sutton’s 1965 graduates, states in an interview that the Sammies sports teams were in an on-going slump. While the Suzies were on a role.

In comparison, the Sammies were seen as different caricatures holding different objects like basketballs, soccer balls, horns, drums, and a gun. There was only one caricature with a gun while the others were seen many more times. It seems as though our school held on to that one Sam with a gun. This caricature is pretty much socially unacceptable in this day and age causing lots of controversies with our Sammies.

Howie believes that “It’s not just the guy with a gun, it’s the guy itself. It’s not just the Suzie dancing through the flowers, its the Suzie itself.” Which is true, we are not the object we hold in our hannd we are our skill itself. A soccer player is not a person with a ball, anyone can be that, but they have to have skill aswell.

Howie also informed me that the mascots were partially created by Al Banx, and the students. While Al Banx came up with the caricatures he did not have a name for Sutton’s for a long while. Until, the school had a voting and students entered what they thought should be the mascot. The boy who won named the school, the Sammies.

Not too long after, a few girls were sitting around a lunch table asking themselves, “do we really want to be called the Sammies?” So these girls were the first to call our female athletes, the Suzies.

BOOM, there you have it folks, the Sammies and Suzies.

There are many different kinds of people in our school’s community that have different views on the Sammies and Suzies. Some may know more than others and some may be more passionate about them. However, I think they should mean more to some of the students in our school than they appear to be.

This means that the history behind our mascots needs to be shared more so that people understand the meaning and importance behind them. This may lead to more school spirit and appreciation for our mascots.

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  • One of the many images of the Suzies hauling around the Sammies.

  • Sammie plays his trumpet

  • Suzie is taking this game seriously

  • Sammie can play and laugh at the same time

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