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Ilion High School Customs & Traditions

Customs and traditions played an important part in the Ilion High School. Every year certain events occurred, throughout the term, which were remembered for many years. Among these are -- Homecoming Weekend, Senior Christmas Ball, Parents' Night at the last basketball game, Senior Class Day, the Junior Prom, and "PaintNight"..

Pages on all the traditions will be available in the navigation bar at the top of this page. Updated August 22, 2014


Alma Mater

The Alma Mater lyrics were written by Edna Brand McGowan, Class of 1905. Edna's words, set to the tune of Cornell's "Far Above Cayuga's Waters", were selected as the winning entry in a contest held to determine the lyrics.


The Blue Room Song

This little diddy was popular at least as far back as the 1950s. Watch Bill Pickett IHS 1952 perform The Blue Room.


Nickname: Golden Bombers

The Ilion Central School's nickname of the "Golden Bomber" can be traced back to the year 1935. A reporter from the Utica OBSERVER-DISPATCH by the name of William Malloy used the reference in his write-ups of the 1935 football squad. In that year, the Ilion team was outfitted in beautiful gold uniforms. The name seemed to stick, and since that time has become the nickname associated with our school in all of our activities.

Joe Bemis provided this bit of Ilion history to Ilion's Principal in 1977 and it was reported in the Utica Observer Dispatch. - October 27, 1977 - The Utica Observer - The Utica Observer - 4790.pdf

"Ilion's Golden Bombers supposedly adopted their nickname due to an Observer Dispatch reporter who covered them when Ilion was the champion of the entire central New York area around 1925. 'One of the sports reporters said in a story that Ilion had 'bombed' its opponents during the season.' says Ilion principal Henry J Bartosik."

"It got to the point where everyone would say before a game. 'My gosh', we will bomb them.' and the name came into common use. The color 'Golden' was added because our school colors are gold and brown" Bartosik said. Ralph Bemis who was a coach back then is responsible for the information.


School Seal and Coat of Arms

Ilion High School Coat of Arms

The Ilion Central School Coat of Arms was created by Gary Conover and Dan McGrath, members of the Class of 1964. For the past three decades, this unique and impressive looking seal has adorned the cover of many Ilion Graduation notices, letterheads, Yearbook Covers and other publications.

"Myself and Dan McGrath helped put together the school seal. Now I call it the school seal, because Dave Wells, Wayne Hendrix and others, whom will go unmentioned, had certain girls in the Jr. Class (65) believing the school had a "seal" and Mr. Green was keeping it in the school garage." - Gary Conover

"The drawing, by Dan McGrath, is intended to depict Eliphalet Remington. The laurel is for scholarship, and the winged foot represents athletics. Dan (and Gary) both lettered in track." - Thomas Morris, Class of '64


Mascot: Bomber Bear

The Ilion Central School mascot, "The Bomber Bear" was a recent addition to the school's history. Thanks goes out to the Morton Family for providing information on the origin of The Bomber Bear.

Ilion High Bomber Bear Mascot


Victory Bell

The Morgan Street School Bell was restored by the Class of 1989 and presented as the class gift. It is now known as The Victory Bell and was rung by celebrating winning Ilion teams.


Athletic Awards: Joe Bemis Football Award

The Joe Bemis Football Award was first awarded in 1978, at a dinner, honoring former Ilion Coach and Athletic Director, Ralph 'Joe' Bemis The names of the recipients of this award are listed on the The Joe Bemis Football Award page.


Athletic Awards: The Lever Cup

Ilion High School - Lever Cup Tradition

The awarding of The Lever Cup went back to 1924 when Harold 'Boots' Lever presented the cup as a tribute to William Hempstead - Class of 1916, and William Schletterer, former students in the High School, who lost their lives in World War I.


Senior Dress Down Day

Ilion seniors celebrated the nearing of graduation during a week in June. A favorite day for fun and antics was Senior Dress Down Day.

Seniors could dress up in wild and crazy outfits to entertain the staff and undergraduates. Creativity showed through year after year.

Senior Dress Down Day

You are welcome to contribute information, photographs, personal stories, tradition histories, etc., for publication on this website. For Webpage updates, contact: Aileen Carney Sweeney

Created and maintained by Aileen Carney Sweeney - Class of 1974

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October 16, 2021

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