By Jamie Hale
The retro fashion fad has spread from hip consignment shops to virtually every sports team in the country and has now made it’s way into Pocatello High School. But it’s not faded t-shirts or ’80s belt-buckles some kids at Poky High are getting excited about, it’s little red and blue beanies.
The beanies used to be part of a sort of hazing tradition for sophomores at Poky. Judy Jones, a 1970 graduate, said all sophomores were given the beanies and expected to wear them–especially at sporting events. “If kids found out that you were a sophomore and you weren’t wearing a beanie…for the first bit of school they could throw eggs at [students] and say mean things,” she said. At some point in the last 20 years, the beanie tradition faded into obscurity, finding a place in the school’s trophy case but not atop students’ heads.
Sterling Hofman, a rising senior at Poky and the leader of the beanie comeback, said although they were originally used to haze students, that part of the tradition is over for good. These beanies, which will be identical to the old ones, are strictly meant to boost school pride.
Hofman said he comes from a family steeped in Poky pride. Everyone in his family went to the high school, meaning the beanie didn’t go unnoticed to him. People had always talked about bringing the tradition back, he said, but it never got off the ground. After always seeing one in the trophy case, he decided to give the comeback another shot.
Hofman initially approached the school about making and selling the beanies, but due to their strict no-hats-in-school policy, they wouldn’t be a part of it, he said. Undeterred, he has now decided to hand-make about 1000 to give away to students for free at sporting events this fall–with the help of friends and like-minded alumni of course.
Hofman and about two dozen others gathered in his driveway Wednesday night to cut diamonds of red and blue fabric. Once cut, he plans on enlisting local sewers, like Jones and her quilting group, The Queen Bees, to help put them all together. He then hopes to send the beanies to a screen printer where “Poky Class of” and the graduation year will be screened on.
“We just want to bring back this old tradition that hasn’t been done in a while,” said Hofman. His end goal in this whole undertaking is a boost in pride at his school. “I think with more pride–then a lot of kids feel welcome, they feel part of something.” Right now, he’s just making beanies for the current students at Poky. Beyond that, it’s up to somebody else to take on the tradition.
The elephant in the room, of course, is whether or not other students at Poky will embrace the beanies. Teenagers are stereotypically fickle about jumping aboard bandwagons that support school pride. “You’re going to get a couple kids every once in a while that think ‘oh yeah, it’s just a beanie,’ said Hofman. “But I think the majority of kids like it.”
Regardless of their eventual popularity, he and his friends plan on making as many beanies as possible. Right now they don’t have the funds to finish them all, but Hofman is taking any and all donations. If you want to donate to the Poky High beanie project you can e-mail him at email@example.com or call him at 380.1797.