ANNANDALE, Va. (WUSA 9) -- The Atoms of Annandale High School won our 'Most Unique Mascot' poll with 2,169 votes.
Annandale High School opened its doors in 1954 to 1,000 students ranging 8th-11th grade. The students voted to be called the Atoms, inspired by the "Atoms for Peace" speech given by Dwight D. Eisenhower in Dec. 1953.
"To the making of these fateful decisions, the United States pledges before you, and therefore before the world, its determination to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma - to devote its entire heart and mind to finding the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall not be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to his life." -Dwight D. Eisenhower, Atoms for Peace, Dec. 8, 1953
What started out as a symbol of pride for the nation, transformed into the pride of a high school. For 60 years, Annandale High School has been representing the red and white "Atom Pride" not only on the sidelines, but also throughout the school and the Annandale community.
Student activities director Karl Kerns said Annandale is a community school. He said the school continues to teach about the high school's history and traditions.
"There's no other mascot or history like Annandale's," Kerns said.
He said a lot of the students' parents and grandparents are alumni of Annandale and continue to pass down the history.
"It's a tradition," Kerns said. "It symbolizes the school's pride."
Before school starts each year, Kerns said Annandale has a freshman orientation that teaches "Atom Pride." He said the goal is to ignite energy within the school.
"We always stress the positive to promote our pride and traditions," Kerns said.
Kerns said the school encourages the students and community to get involved. For instance, he said students can join the Atoms Hype Squad and earn points by attending games and tweeting about them. Kerns said the points help students win a variety of awards.
"It's about rewarding students when someone does something positive," Kerns said.
Even though there is not a physical Atom mascot present at the games, Kerns said the school shows school spirit by promoting the logo and Annandale's school colors.
"Everything we do is about red and white," Kerns said.
The community can see the Atoms' pride on Oct. 24 at Annandale's football game against West Springfield.