Snippets of Bay Village History: How Bay High School sports teams became the Rockets
In 1920, the Bay Village Board of Education was facing a real need for a larger school that offered grades one through 12. The Red Brick School on Lake Road already had two additions and was overcrowded. After eighth grade, the Bay Village students went to school in Dover (now Westlake), Rocky River and Lakewood to finish their 12-year education. The Bay Village Board of Education paid for their tuition.
A bond issue was passed, and a new two-story brick building, named Parkview School, was completed in 1922 on lands purchased from the Cahoon Park trustees just south of Cahoon Memorial Park (where Bay Middle School is now located). It served grades one through 12 and all students in Bay Village moved into the new school, closing Easterly at Columbia Road and the Red Brick School house. A third story was added in 1925.
Soon the colors blue and white appeared on the sports uniforms for Parkview School. Although we don’t have the reason for blue and white in writing, it could have been chosen for the blue of Lake Erie and the white waves as the students viewed Lake Erie from the new school’s windows. A new Bay school shield appeared with a sailboat and "Village of Bay" written on it. Basketball and football teams in 1926 appeared with the letter P on the front of their athletic shirts representing Parkview High School. The "Arc-Light" yearbook, which became the "Bay Blue Book," was published for Parkview High School. In the 1930s, "Bay" began appearing on the sports outfits. And so it went until 1947.
In 1946, Jack Llewellyn came to Bay Village to coach the Parkview High School football team, taking over for Mr. DePoalo. It was the second year for the newly formed Athletic Council, organized to make decisions regarding sports in the high school. In the 1946-47 school year, the Athletic Council consisted of Ike Ganyard and Billie Brueggemann Crook representing the students, and Llewellyn, Shallenberger, Secrest, Georgia Williams and Principal Springer representing the faculty and administration.
Coach Jack Llewellyn advised the council they needed to have a mascot for their athletic teams. A school contest was formed to name a mascot and all students were asked to submit an entry. Many names were submitted. The council kept track of the names as they came in and how many votes there were for each name. The top four names were posted and the school voted on the mascot name they liked best.
From the start, "Blue Devils" was a very popular name for the team. The big day came for voting on the new mascot. The Athletic Council counted the votes. "Blue Devils" won hands down. However, the school board was not happy with the name and instead accepted the name "Rockets," which received the second most votes, as being a more appropriate name. And so it went.
In the fall of 1947, for the first time, a Bay High School sports team took the field under the name Bay Rockets. In the 1948 Bay Blue Book there is a reference, “Under its name, Rockets, the Bay High School football team made a journey to Orange to play football.” The game ended in a 6-6 tie. It is also referenced that the Bay Memorial football field was inaugurated in 1947 with a loss to Fairview, 19-0.
The Class of 1947 wasn’t through yet, they petitioned the administration and board of education to change the name of the school from Parkview High School to Bay High School. This too was taken under consideration and the decision to change the name was accepted. The Class of 1947 graduated with Bay High School on their diplomas. The 1948 Bay Blue Book came out under the name Bay High School for the first time. When an addition was finished on the west end of Parkview School in 1952, the new lettering over the front door read Bay High School.
Today, Duke University and Brunswick High School are both proud Blue Devils. Bay High School is proud to be the Rockets.
I am the Historian for the Bay Village Historical Society. Member and Past President of the society. Lived in the village since 1936.