The lark: It’s not a fish

By Kristin Troyer – Horizon Features Editor

When a Southeast Community College basketball player saw “Larks” written across sophomore Alyssa Graber’s jersey, she had a question.

“So, what’s a lark, anyway?”

“It’s a kind of bird… I think.”

“Oh, I thought it was a fish…”

An apparently ambiguous animal, the lark is the mascot of Hesston College. Maybe you’ve been asked this question, or maybe you aren’t sure yourself. So, what is a lark?

Western Meadowlark,
A Western Meadowlark. Source:

For starters, it’s not a fish. It is a bird, the Kansas state bird to boot. To be more specific, the Western Meadowlark. More often heard than seen, the male Western Meadowlark sports a bright yellow chest with a black V-shaped band across the chest. Females are similarly colored, but not as bright. There are other varieties, such as the Eastern Meadowlark, Horned Lark, and some types of blackbirds can also be considered to be larks. The Western Meadowlark is the most common in the Kansas area and is most likely what has been shortened to the more common term “lark.” 

But to Hesston College a Lark is more than a bird. Larks of the Hesston College variety migrate from all corners of the earth, representing many countries and cultures. Every fall, a new group of Larks is put through an initiation ritual, called walk-a-mile, to make sure they can meet the standard of friendliness this species is known for. They can often be found congregating in the Larks’ Nest for eating and socializing. Typically, they live in flocks, called mods, with a leader called an RA. Special mating rituals, or Pick-a-Dates, are organized by these mods. Hesston College Larks are omnivorous, primary staples of their diet include chicken patties and soft serve ice cream. They can be distinguished by their long calls of Heilsgeschichte and their favorite mode of transportation: the razor scooter. Some Larks are known for their particular flying talents. Others can be distinguished by their maroon tops and rolling backpacks: the nursing Larks. Some don’t know what they want to do with their talents, but luckily for them, Hesston College is a great place to take flight.

A lark is so more than just a bird: It’s a symbol for what we, and this college, stand for.


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