Letterman Jackets: Not Just for Athletes

By Simone Bender // Reporter

Beginning in the 1930s, letterman jackets swept through American high schools, being adorned with patches and recognitions of all sorts by students wanting to show off their accomplishments and school spirit.

Although they’ve typically been depicted as an accessory for athletes and jocks throughout Hollywood and all kinds of media, Avon High School is filled with diverse jackets for students exceling in sports, academics, and arts.

One of these students is Junior Nate Dixon, who said he proudly dawns his letterman jacket and the achievements it represents.

“Even before high school, I knew I wanted a letterman, mainly so that people [could] see all the things I do and the hard work that was put into getting my jacket,” said Dixon.

Dixon has decorated his jacket with many patches and other things from his different activities and successes from school.

“You can earn them through lettering in sports or being in advanced choirs and other advanced performing arts classes,” Dixon said. “If you don’t do any of these, you can letter for academics if you have a 4.0 GPA or higher.”

Dixon said he not only enjoys his jacket for the décor, but also for its functionality.

“They are amazing for the colder Fall [and] Winter months, especially when you have nothing to wear,” said Dixon.

Sophomore Teagan Maish, on the other hand, said that she isn’t as interested in the idea of getting a letterman jacket.

“I don’t own a letterman jacket because I honestly don’t think they’re worth the hype,” said Maish. “Personally, I’m not a fan of [them] in general.”

Maish continued on to say that while she thought they may be beneficial for some students, they weren’t something she was concerned with for herself.

“I think they show people’s accomplishments, which is great, just not for me,” Maish said, “I just want to fly under the radar in high school,”

Sophomore Luke Sharp said that he is in favor of letterman jackets and wears one himself.

“I own a letterman jacket because they are good jackets for long, cold band nights and they show school and band spirit,” said Sharp.

Sharp continued by saying that he specifically enjoys getting to wear a letterman from Avon.

“I appreciate the Avon jackets because they are warm jackets with a nice color scheme and they show what kind of activities [you are] involved in,” said Sharp.

Sharp said not only are letterman jackets good for students to show off their achievements, but also encourage them to make further ones.

“Letterman jackets…promote achievement within the student body,” Sharp said, “I’m not aware of a better alternative,”

Lettermans, although declining in popularity nationwide, are still standing strong at AHS, and many students wear theirs proudly.

“They look good and are generally accessible with hard work,” Dixon said. “I can only hope that the trend continues.”

Your Questions Answered-How Do Letterman Jackets Work?

Source: Awards America Inc.

So, you lettered in your first sport, art, or academic activity and purchased the highly anticipated letterman jacket. Now, it’s time to get excited about adding different patches and décor to make it truly yours. You may be wondering, though, how does this all work? Here, all of your questions are answered.

So, where does my name go?

Traditionally, your name or nickname will be embroidered across from the second snap on the right side of your jacket front.

Where do I put this giant “A”?

That letter you received from sports or other activities will be placed over your heart on the front, left side of the jacket. If you earn pins of any sort, they can also be put here.

What’s up with the class numbers?

You will put your graduation year patch (e.g. ’23, ’24, ’25, ’26…) on the right sleeve.

What’s a chevron and what do I do with it?

You earn a chevron for each year in an activity. These go on your left sleeve. You can also place an activity patch above these, symmetrical to you graduation numbers.

Yeah, but what about the back?

On the back of your jacket, you have room for embroidery of “Avon” and your different activities that you either letter or participate in. You can also use the available space to display specific patches such as ones for qualifications, finalists, and participations.

Okay, I know where everything goes now, but how do I get it on the jacket?

You can either take yours to local apparel stores (such as Avon Sports Apparel) and have them done for you, or you can attach your patches yourself. The best way is traditional needle and thread, but there are also no-sew options such as specialty fabric glue.

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