"Hutto is the Hippos. The Hippos are Hutto," said Todd Robison of Hutto High School.
And the number of Hippos is growing too – not just seen in the many statues around town, but also in the many students that call the high school their home.
"We're a big school, we're a big school district that's going to continue growing and getting even bigger," said Robison.
The growth has been so significant that the school is moving to 6A in all sports next year, much to the excitement of head football coach Brad LaPlante.
"They want to test their level against bigger and better opponents," said LaPlante.
Of course, any talk about Hutto and growth has to include talk of a second high school, which LaPlante calls "inevitable" within the next five or six years.
And any talk about that second high school has to include a recent measure passed by the school board – a measure that stipulates that the second high school will also have the "Hippo" as its mascot.
"The Hutto ISD Board of Trustees hereby designates the Hippo as the one mascot for the entire Hutto Independent School District," reads the decision that was passed in January 2019.
Robison and LaPlante said the support for the decision was overwhelming.
"When you drive around the community and you're seeing 700-pound porcelain Hippos all over the place, if you had split into two schools, and changed mascots ... It always splits a town, but it would really split this town," said LaPlante.
"It is so hard for an outside person to imagine what it's like – that you come here and you just become a Hippo and it just becomes a way of life and it's part of our culture," Robison said.
Challenges, perhaps even confusion, are sure to arise with two high schools in the same town having the same mascot.
The folks in Hutto said it's nothing compared to the alternative.
"Having a different mascot would have certainly created if nothing else, just an awkwardness for those folks who are not Hippos in terms of identity," said Robison.
LaPlante agreed with that sentiment.
"You can't be Hippo nation if we're not all Hippos," said LaPlante.
PEOPLE ARE ALSO READING: