If You're In Mrs. Salyards' Classroom, Remember to Honk the Hippo
Grier has been around since 1853, so it's no surprise that traditions abound in its halls. You've probably heard of many of them: Green and Gold events, meeting at "the Pineapples", Friday dance parties in the auditorium... but have you ever honked the hippo?
Mrs. Salyards' AP history courses use the acronym HIPPO to help them analyze historical sources for their essays:
Historical context Intended audience Purpose Point of view, and... Organization/Outside Information.
These historical thinking skills are essential for great historical writing and essential processes that young historians need to train their brains. She used and practiced the acronym in class so much that, many years ago, an AP history student spotted a giant dog toy in the shape of a hippopotamus and didn't hesitate to gift it to Mrs. Salyards for Christmas.
Ever since, the hippo and its loud "HONK" have lived in her classroom, reminding students to use those historical analysis skills to think deeper about historical sources and take their academic writing to the next level.
The hippo has gone by many names over the years: Henry (after both the Henry VIII of England and Henry Clay, the Great Compromiser of US History), Artemisia or Hieronymus (both after the Renaissance masters), Harriet (after Harriet Tubman), and other historical names have graced the toy over the years. It's become the official mascot of all of Mrs. Salyards' classes, Advanced Placement or not. His honk is now used for luck before an exam, to brighten a mood after a dire trigonometry quiz, or to greet a friend who is virtual on Zoom for the day. His plushy largeness is a comfort for those who need a hug, and a welcome whimsy in a world that seems a little too serious sometimes.
The next time you need a little luck, or just a bit of a pick-me-up, stop by room 106 and give the hippo a honk.