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MARQUETTE COUNTY – Before I moved to the U.P., I knew from my days in school that mining played a major role in the area.

And you can look no further than high school mascots for evidence of that. We have the Negaunee Miners and the Calumet Copper Kings as obvious examples. But, we also have the Gwinn Modeltowners – thanks to CCI Mining and William G. Mather.

“After three years of successful mining, Mr. Mather decided that he needed to build a town for the miners,” said Tom Jayne, Superintendent of Gwinn Schools. “And it was to be the “Model Town,” meaning that they drew up all the plans and infrastructure prior to building the town.”
But a Modeltowner isn’t exactly a clear mascot. The school has gone through a pine tree mascot, a jet, in honor of KI Sawyer and eventually, a tiger.
Siad Jayne, “In about 1996 a few of our students derived a paw, a tiger paw, which was adopted and that’s been our mascot.”
Just North, in Ishpeming, the Hematites have become known state wide for their football success, and that has brought with it a lot of questions says Anthony Bertucci, the Business Manager of Ishpeming Schools
He said, “It definitely does get a few eye rolls or quick glances like, ‘You are named what?'”
Hematites, by definition, are a reddish-black mineral consisting of ferric oxide. Or, an important ore of iron. The actual name was first used in the school’s first yearbook in 1901 and the year after that an Ann Arbor newspaper referred to the team as “the Hematites” after a football game.
Unique as it may be, the nickname is a perfect representation of the school and community is represents.
Said Bertucci, “It’s kind of the core of the community. It’s the rock really built the city. It’s the rock that built the community. I think there’s been a saying that’s been around for quite some time, ‘Hematites are rock solid.’ It’s just that strong desire to persevere . . . to be the best that you can be.”