What's a Zizzer?
ZIZZER (ZIZ'ZER) n. 1. an expert in any activity - adj. (colloq) FIRST RATE; 2. a person of the highest caliber, ability or reputation. 3. one who is victorious; (syn) A WINNER! Because to be a ZIZZER means to be the BEST at WHATEVER you do!
Perhaps the most frequently asked question of WPHS alumni and students is "What's a Zizzer?" While there have been many stories about how the name originated, and just as many answers to the question (to which former High School Principal Ron Estes has been known to shout "A winner!"), some stories have stood the test of time.
How did the school mascot name originate? It all started in 1907 when the senior class planned a small booklet of eight pages as a surprise to the juniors on Class Day. This pamphlet contained a picture of the high school, the Class Day and commencement programs, several essays, the names of the senior class, their yells and motto, and two or three stories on the juniors.
The juniors decided to publish one the next year, and when this, the 1908 volume, was shown to Mrs. Phoebe Davidson, one of the faculty, she exclaimed, "Oh, what a Zizzer!"
The word was first used on the cover of the 1908 edition of the annual book of essays and class pictures, what is now better known as a yearbook or annual. From thereafter the book increased in content and size, and the name stayed with it.
The Zizzer is mainly a remembrance of the "good old high school days" - a book filled with memories of senior struggles, frolics and pranks. It is also proof of progress - a "booster" to the school - and is contributed to by all the classes and faculty.
The first West Plains High School newspaper published was called the Fly Sheet, and then changed to Hot Number. It finally came to rest as the Zizzerette, meaning the "little Zizzer." In some years the newspaper was added to the back of the yearbook and it was published until 1925 when it was discontinued due to the depression. It was revived in 1931 and by 1932 it was published bi-monthly.
Then who is a Zizzer? That question is most thoroughly answered when one attempts to name all the different kinds of people who are affiliated with WPHS. There are many - the athlete, who has made the headlines over and over throughout the years; the fan, a driving force behind the success of our athletic teams; the student, whether singing in the choir, representing the school at an FFA competition, competing at the Pummel Math Relays or just walking down the hall; the parents, frequently a fan supporting a child, often a WPHS alumnus, and often the only available source of transportation to the student and perhaps the most necessary Zizzer. But each of the above depends on the others for many things over the course of a school year. In part the success of the athlete depends on the support of the fan. Education of students depend on faculty, administration, staff and, most importantly, parents.
Going back to the original question of "Who is a Zizzer?", the answer is simple. Add together the above mentioned people, spirit, pride, loyalty and pour into our campus - the results are inevitable and a Zizzer is born.