Photos by Rome City Schools

Working around a busy schedule of howling classes, claw sharpening and dance-offs with rival mascots can be tough, but Willie the Wolf always finds time to visit his favorite little Pack members. Students at North Heights were treated to a surprise visit from their favorite furry friend.

Willie wanted to spread a message of working hard in class and let the kids in on a few fun facts they may not know about Rome High’s perky and pointy-eared canine.

“Did you know that Willie the Wolf has been the mascot for Rome City Schools for 25 years?” said Tashia Twyman, Director of Communications and Public Engagement for Rome City Schools to the wide-eyed students. Twyman was the escort for Willie as he went from classroom to classroom giving out his favorite things, high fives and fist bumps.

“Does anyone know how old that makes Willie in canine years?” Twyman asked again.

She was met with a barrage of answers as their tiny minds worked to multiply 25 years by seven. Turns out, Willie is 175-years young and still as spry as he was on the first day the Gladiators and Chieftains relocated to Veterans Memorial Highway.

Other fun facts about Willie are that he loves cheeseburgers, his favorite subjects in school are all of them and everything in his den is decorated in red and gold. He is the president of the Order of School Spirit, an organization that spreads love for schools all across the country and he was given this great honor because of his work with children in Rome City Schools.

When asked about what keeps him motivated, Willie turned and pointed to a classroom filled with North Heights’ students and smiled.

“I think it is important to have Willie come out to see our students and get them excited about graduating from Rome High School,” said Wesley Styles who serves as Principal for North Heights Elementary. “He really helps to build school spirit which, in turn, makes them want to graduate and be a part of something special.”

Stephen McClure, Assistant Principal for North Heights agreed with Styles. “Willie coming to our school has really helped to build the community we hope to create in all of our schools,” McClure said, “and he gives our students a direct connection to the high school.”

"Willie coming to our school has really helped to build the community we hope to create in all of our schools."