UPDATED — Smokejumpers replace priests as mascot of Missoula school

Poll: help them choose a new “Smokejumpers” logo for their school

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(Updated January 29, 2020)

The students at Desmet School in Missoula, MT have made their decision about which proposed logo will identify them as the Smokejumpers. Since 1890 the mascot of DeSmet Public School in Missoula, Montana had been Padres — Catholic priests. The school is not affiliated with a religion and not all genders could identify with priests who are all male, so they felt they needed a change, and selected smokejumpers as their new mascot.

There were four logos the students could choose from (see the images below), and on January 28 they made a split decision, using variations of two designs.

For informal use, such as on shirts, there will be two versions of number four. Principal Matt Driessen said Friday the design will be modified by the artist to make it “less cartoonish” and there will be one version with a male smokejumper and another showing a female smokejumper.

For more formal use, such as on stationary, signs, and on the floor or wall of the new gym, number two will be used.

As you can see in our poll below in which 844 participated, number two came in first with 35 percent, and number four was third with 21 percent. The ages of the students, grades K-8, may have led them to gravitate toward number 4.


(Originally published January 22, 2021)

DeSmet Smokejumpers Logo Options
DeSmet Smokejumpers Logo Options

Since 1890 the mascot of DeSmet Public School in Missoula, Montana has been Padres — Catholic priests. As the facility is undergoing a major $6 million renovation it seemed like a good time to reevaluate their mascot. DeSmet is not affiliated with any religion, and since all priests are male, some females at the school could not relate to it.

The Missoula Smokejumper Base is virtually across the street from the school. Principal Matt Driessen said their students can see their planes take off from the airport on training flights and watch the smokejumpers parachute from the aircraft and land on the ground. He said the jumpers then run back to the base as part of their training.

Smokejumpers made the list of 100 possible mascots that the administration submitted to the students. And, that’s what they selected. They are about to become the DeSmet Smokejumpers.

But they need a new logo, and that’s where our Wildfire Today readers come in. They have the four possibilities above.

Principal Driessen said number four is a pencil draft, and if it is selected by the students a graphic artist will make a polished version in the same quality as the other three.

Vote for the image you prefer in the poll below, clicking on one of the numbers that represents the image above that you prefer. The poll closes Wednesday night, January 27, 2020, since the students will make their choice the next day. Keep in mind it will be seen on uniforms, and probably on the floor of the new gym being built.

The poll has closed

Choose new logo for DeSmet School

  • 2 (35%, 297 Votes)
  • 1 (29%, 247 Votes)
  • 4 (21%, 180 Votes)
  • 3 (14%, 120 Votes)

Total Voters: 844

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The decision of which image to choose is up to the students, of course. But we can weigh in, using the poll. Principle Driessen is fine with us helping them make their decisions.

He also said a new mascot is going to require new uniforms.

“Once chosen, the school will need to purchase new uniforms for the teams,” said Principle Driessen. “We are a small K-8 elementary school with a population of about 110 students.  If you would like to donate to the cause, we are always pleased and thankful for donations.”

You can send donations to:
DeSmet Elementary
New Uniforms
6355 Padre Lane
Missoula, MT 59808

Below is an excerpt from an article at the Missoulian:

Driessen said the kids saw the smokejumpers as the best of the best — tough, fierce and skilled. They’re heroic, smart and the elite of the wildland firefighters. They are everything the kids want to aspire toward.

“When I got the call from the school it was really humbling and flattering that they chose us as a mascot,” said Dan Cottrell, the training foreman at the Missoula Smokejumper Base. “We were proud and we were excited and just really thrilled that they, you know, thought of us and gave us that opportunity.”

After the students make their selection, we will update this article. Watch this space.

DeSmet Padres
DeSmet Public School. Google photo. August, 2019.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Dick.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

9 thoughts on “UPDATED — Smokejumpers replace priests as mascot of Missoula school”

  1. My high school mascot was a Viking. Never saw any real life Vikings; hard to role model a historical stereotype.
    Imagine if your school mascot was visible every day, right across the street! How cool will that be for those students! Living breathing “mascots” practically within arms reach. And fine upstanding role models to boot.
    I picked #3… strength, bold design, gender neutral. #4 is a Spiderman takeoff, not particularly original or unique.
    GO JUMPERS !!!

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  2. I realize that perceptions vary, but I also thought the figure in #4 was male. I’d go with 1 or 2 myself.

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  3. Since there are women who are smoke jumpers, it would be yet another hit to them to see this logo look like a way over beefed up, obviously male, super hero.

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    1. In the future when those DeSmet Elementary School students are 18 years old they can apply for Jobs as smokjumpers and put nine seasons as a Smokejumper on their application.

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    2. Where, in any of the logos, do you see an obvious visual interpretation of a male figure? Since #4 thr only one with any sort of human figure, and having been around kitted up jumpers, I can tell you that in my opinion there is no way that the person on that logo could be construed as having a gender, one way or another.

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  4. Looking at how the logo would be on letterheads, patches on shirts, hoodies, scarves, it would be the numbe 1 for easy use in the partical matter. Plus you need the name of the school in your logo. But must admit number 4 is my favorite, the marketing and useage of number 4 would be more difficult to reproduce in colors than the others. Suggest you have a painting done over the entrance inside wall, so when the students walk into the entrance hallway it is the first thing they see. Maybe with the words, “Proud Smokejumpers” or “Smokejumpes Pride”
    There are so many good things you can do for events, and also, have a Smokejumper assembly at school each year. Select an honorary smokejumper of Desmet School each year. Good luck with your newest adventure.

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  5. My oldest son just moved to Missoula a year ago. My middle son graduated from Gonzaga and his residence hall freshman and sophomore year was De Smet. We live in California and as with many communities in the west know all too well the importance of Smoke jumpers as well as all of those brave men and women in our firefighting community.

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