By NORMAN LEIGH
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- The city school district will start this academic year with something it has never had before, an official fight song.
The school board approved adoption Monday of "Quaker Pride," a tune written by musicians and Salem graduates Gary and Cheryl Keckel of Canfield.
Schools Superintendent Dr. David Brobeck explained that over the years the district has used several college fight songs to urge on its sports teams. But Salem has never had an original tune of its own, prompting district officials to look into the matter.
Retired Salem business executive Bob Sebo, a Salem graduate, and his wife, Karen, stepped forward with a $2,000 donation to pay for having the fight song created by the Keckels.
The tune made its debut at Monday's school board meeting with a performance by the high school pep band. One aim in commissioning a fight song is to foster school pride and spirit as the district approaches its 150th anniversary, Brobeck said. The event will be marked in the 2002-2003 school year.
Brobeck reminded the school board that a Salem tradition is alive and well. He was referring to "Quaker Sam," the Quaker caricature who has served for decades as the district's mascot.
A rumor has been circulating that Quaker Sam is being phased out. That's not true, Brobeck said.
In other matters, he informed the school board that teacher Cindy Maher will be returning to her classes at Buckeye Elementary School this year.
Maher has been off work on medical leave, battling cancer. The illness is in remission, Brobeck said.