Superbowl holds special meaning for Selma High students

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

TUSKEGEE, AL (WSFA) - It's a melody band members at Selma High School know well.  But what you may not know is why the famous tune of "When The Saints Go Marching In" is Selma's school song.

It all goes back to the year 1970 when Selma City Schools integrated.

The city combined two high schools into one, thus creating Selma High.

They needed a mascot and a song.

School leaders say after a little discussion, the choice was clear--the Selma Saints, named after the New Orleans Saints.

The team had just become an NFL franchise in the late 1960s.  And even though they were hundreds of miles away, Selma leaders felt it was their NFL team, too.

"When the Saints Go Marching In" just seemed to fit.

"I wear it, I embrace it.  It's a part of me," says Former Selma Mayor, James Perkins.

Perkins was a student then.

"There were so many things on our mind at that time as we were kids.  It was really an amazing time in our history," he says.

Now, 40 years later, he's watching the Saints make their debut Superbowl appearance.

He and others say it's like being a part of the team.

"We'll call them our uncle in athletics. We'll be rooting for them," he adds.

"I feel like I'm a big part of them in some way, like I should be on the field playing for them and all that," says Selma High School senior, John Ratcliffe.

While folks at Selma High are excited for the Saints and the Superbowl, they say it's not just because their team is going.  There's another reason why.

"I am just elated because they really need a positive note in New Orleans due to the hurricane," says Selma High Principal, Wanda McCall.

"I thought it was a great thing for New Orleans to go to the Superbowl because of Katrina and all that," adds Ratcliffe.

It's a milestone for the New Orleans Saints, and a city cheering on a kindred spirit.

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