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St. Peter’s Elementary school students show off their polar bear artwork in their Glacier-themed shirts.

St. Peter’s Elementary School principal Jennifer D. John was looking for ways to boost school spirit at her Nottingham school, and was struck with a great idea: Have the students choose a mascot for the Lutheran school.

“After 40 years of being open, we finally have a mascot which the children voted on,” John told The Avenue News last week. “We are now the polar bears!”

John said her students voted on several mascots, but “narrowed it down” to pelicans, penguins or polar bears. The polar bears won the schoolwide vote.

Inspired by the enthusiasm of her young learners, the Dundalk native felt obligated to bring as much awareness to polar bear conservation as possible.

“We’re collecting money for Polar Bears International to help with sea ice conservation,” John said Wednesday. “Classes will be discussing this topic throughout the day, and we will all wear polar bear shirts to chapel.”

Sea ice is where polar bears make their home, and in recent years both these floes and the bears have become increasingly endangered.

“Sea ice acts like the earth’s air conditioner,” said John. “But it’s melting from a warming climate. The good news is that we can save sea ice and help polar bears by switching to clean energy like wind and solar. By burning less coal and oil, we’ll help polar bears and people, too.”

John has been a principal for 21 years, but this is her first year at St. Peter’s, a mission of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church.

“I knew we had to have a mascot,” she said.

The polar bear mascot even has a cheeky name: Glacier.

A stuffed animal version of Glacier goes home each weekend with a different student who has had a great week and worked hard on their studies.

School officials ask students to take photos of special places they visit with Glacier so they can attach a photo of the mascot on their magnets and shirts.

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