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Zion-Benton Township High School
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Why are We Called the "Fighting Zee-Bees"?
By Galen Panger (Class of 2003) and Mr. Andrew Gomez
 
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To our cheerleaders, the nickname is pure marketable genius. To our athletes it's an inspiration, a stronghold to defend. To the more cynical it's just another cheap pun.
 
To the cynics we can only respond that the nickname IS a shameless pun (obviously Zion-Benton = Z-B = Zee-Bee). Shameless, too, is the myriad of puns that can be derived from the name (you better BEE-lieve it!). However, not so shameless is the pun that put the "Fighting" in the "Fighting Zee-Bees."
 
According to diehard Zee-Bee fan and former coach and teacher Leroy Cliff, the school's athletic teams were originally known as the Red Raiders of the North.  There is a rich legacy, however, behind our school's current nickname. It all began with World War II. After the Allies had made Victory in Europe (in 1945), America turned its attention toward Japan in the Pacific Ocean. However, it could not just attack the main island. First of all, the distance between the United States and Japan was immense. Second, and most important, there were thousands of small islands in that immense distance of ocean - and Japan had over 10 years to build strong defenses on some of them. While a part of the U.S. Navy fought for control of the fortified islands (two famous ones being Iwo Jima and Okinawa), another part, called the Construction Battalions, took advantage of the islands that weren't being heavily defended to build airstrips, harbors, and re-fueling stations. The work of the Construction Battalions (simply called C.B.'s) was vital to closing the gap between the U.S. and Japan. The men who served in these units later became know as "Seabees," and because they often faced hostile Japanese soldiers who were left on the islands, the men had to be prepared to defend themselves in addition to their work. After that, they were called the "Fighting Seabees."

Zion-Benton Township High School, built by the Public Works Administration in 1939, later became known as the "Fighting Zee-Bees" in appreciation of the men who performed this dangerous and vital service to their country.

Regardless of any puns, we are honored to remember these heroes.

Last Modified on April 18, 2016
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