Concordia Conundrum: What’s In A Name?

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The origins of Concordia’s nickname might actually be more interesting than trying to figure out how to pronounce it.

The Cadets monicker comes from the school’s origin as a military institution dating back to 1906. Some thirty years later the high school was founded and the nickname the program uses to this day was adopted. In the early years of Concordia High School, enrolling in the ROTC program was mandatory – but with the arrival of the Vietnam War and the controversy that surrounded it, things began to change.

In 1972 – for the first time – ROTC became optional at Concordia. At the same time that transition was taking place, some students began partaking in a minor form of protest: referring to themselves as Cadets (KAY-dets) rather than the original Cadets. According to Concordia ROTC instructor Sargent First Class Alan Conrad, once the cheerleaders began using that pronunciation in their cheers – the rest was history.

“It kind of rolls off the lips a little bit more,” Conrad says. “It got picked up and there it went.”

But as far as the actual pronunciation – which remains debated to this day?

“Nobody goes around and says I’m a Concordia (KAY-det) – it’s always Cadet,” Conrad says. “It’s just that when you hear the cheer, that’s where the origin really started.”

In other words – both pronunciations are correct.

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