The Tale of the Great Pepper and Salty


An 80’s rendition of Pepper.

Eli Noesen, Journalist


A cute and cuddly bear and white salt shaker born at Olympia High School. It wasn’t just some wild bear and a boring container of salt, it was Pepper and Salty, the school icons. Pepper is the mascot that brings joy and helpful lessons to the students at Olympia High School. Whoever wears the suit typically remains a secret but back in the old days they didn’t cover their face.

As some may know Pepper also has an archenemy named Salty, who is the new mascot that is used as the funny bad example “student.” Salty would leave trays on the ground, push people, or leave messes around the campus. As of Pepper’s job, he is known as a role model. Pepper would clean the messes or tell Salty what he or she did wrong. Claudia Horton, Senior Olympia High School, said “they create excitement around Olympia High School. They talk about its values and emphasize things like character in a fun and engaging way.” As of today, Pepper and Salty are now part of the ASB Class/The Olyway Show instead of the pep squad (cheerleaders) but nothing has changed at the fun events for Pepper. The mascot has mostly been involved in assemblies, halftime events, and Olyway Shows. Salty on the other hand mostly shows up in the Olyway Shows or randomly around the school.

Some didn’t know, but Pepper always started with the cheer squad and not the ASB class. Back in the 70’s and 80’s they really didn’t have an ASB class, just officers. During that time students either try out based on your popularity or their skills. For example, back then Pepper would do flips during the football or basketball games. Now Pepper is an icon that demonstrates good character and school spirit. John Gerrits, LOC and SOPE Teacher, said “there used to be a stuffed bear on wheels that moved around…like years ago.” The bear in the front office of Olympia high school is the original pepper, it was the original mascot before they had tryouts. Pepper didn’t used to be kept anonymous, a long time ago “it was a bear outfit but the person’s face showed through. Everybody knew who that person was…it looked like a little kid’s halloween costume.” Over the years, Pepper evolved into many different outfits. Some say it was not athletic looking or the suit got too smelly or there was a hole in it. Currently “we thought it would be cool to try and make one look more like a college mascot,” said Mr. Gerrits. As of today some ask where Pepper’s name originated from. According to Daniel Bryan, Physical Science Teacher, and Mr. Gerrits, they were unsure of where the name Pepper came from, but Salty’s title came from Mr. Gerrits himself, who thought it would make sense to name the character Salty because Salt and Pepper go together and that Salty would act “salty” around the school.

 Even though COVID hit the mascots pretty hard, they were still showing up on the morning announcements. Mr. Gerrits hopes one day that they will get three students that will commit to the mascot life and stay anonymous through four years of high school. At their senior year graduation they would reveal their secret to everyone.