J.P. Knapp Early College High School temporarily changes mascot

Published 5:19 am Monday, May 6, 2019

The seagulls will fly proudly over the campus of J.P. Knapp Early College High School in Currituck the week of May 6-10.  That’s when, for the third time in six years, the little school on Currituck Sound celebrates “Seagull Fest.”

The festival, which will be held less than two weeks before students end their school year, will feature a Seagull Egg Hunt, a Seagull Calling Contest, a “French Fry Toss” Competition and a HeGull and SheGull pageant. Members of Knapp’s Student Government Organization (SGO), which organizes and sponsors the festival, even convinced the Currituck Board of Education to change the school’s mascot from “Spartans” to “Fightin’ Gulls” for the week.  The board approved the temporary mascot change at its meeting May 2.

“Not everyone appreciates seagulls,” says Ellie Williamson, SGO president, who will celebrate her second Seagull Fest before graduating later in May.  “Some people really don’t like them because they can be kind of annoying.  But we think seagulls are beautiful and deserve some attention.”

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The festival’s official slogan:  “Respect the Gull.”

The Seagull Festival was the brainchild of Knapp SGO members in 2013, who wanted to end the year with an off-beat, fun event.  The organization now believes it may be the only such festival in the country, if not the world.

“We decided to do the festival every other year because it takes so much effort and because it builds anticipation,” Williamson says.  “At first, many of our freshman students don’t understand why we’re doing this. But when they do get it, they love it.”