The History of Letter Jackets

How to Earn One of These Classic Jackets

The History of Letter Jackets

In the fall and winter months, it is not uncommon to see dozens of people sporting their letter jackets in the hallways and in class. These wool and leather jackets have become a cultural norm, but not many people know how they originated. Letter jackets, also known as “lettermans,” first came about in 1865 when the Harvard University baseball team embroidered a felt “H” onto their uniforms. By the 1930’s, the original wool jersey has transitioned into the letter jacket we know today, which has a wool body and leather sleeves.

 There are many different ways to earn a letter jacket at Centennial.

  • Band: Make a region band OR make a “1” at Solo and Ensemble at a state level OR be in band and pass your classes for two years
  • Choir: Be in choir for more than one year
  • Academics: Have a 4.5 GPA by the beginning of your junior year
  • Sports: Make a varsity team
  • Cheerleading: Earn the jacket as a freshman, earn the letter to go on it when you make the varsity cheer team
  • Sweethearts: Earn the jacket as a freshman, earn the letter the second year
  • Orchestra: Be in orchestra for all four years
  • Yearbook: Be in Yearbook for two years   
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Letter jackets can be simple, consisting of only the jacket and the felt letter, or more elaborate, comprising of a variety of patches from different events or achievements that the student has participated in or accomplished. Students also often include patches that hold special meaning to them, for example, a cross with their favorite Bible verse.

Sara Cathriner is one Centennial student who collects letter jacket patches, and her letterman currently has 22 patches lining the sleeves.
You can not deny that they showcase school spirit and brighten up the hallways on these gloomy winter days.