Meadow Lane first-grader meets giraffe he named

Iggy, meet Phoebe. Phoebe, this is Iggy.

Iggy Malik, a first-grader at Meadow Lane Elementary School, won a contest in October to name one of the new giraffes at Lincoln Children’s Zoo. On Wednesday, Malik met the 21-month-old giraffe with the winning name of Phoebe.

As part of winning the citywide contest, all of Malik’s first-grade classmates joined him for Wednesday’s field trip to the zoo, where they met Phoebe and the three other giraffes. Many of the students, including Malik, fed the giraffes lettuce.

“Slimy,” is how Malik described the process.

In September, the zoo announced it would hold a naming contest among first-grade students to name one of the giraffes – the first to call Lincoln home. The zoo sent naming ballots to all Lincoln Public Schools first-graders and opened up online nominations, as well. First-grade students were chosen because they had been learning about animals – including giraffes – as part of their science curriculum.

Phoebe was chosen from more than 2,200 entries. Malik said he thought of the name because one of his classmates is named Phoebe. He and that classmate, Phoebe Gordon, were the first to feed a giraffe on Wednesday.

The name Phoebe also has historical significance for the community and LPS. According to historical records, Phoebe/Phebe Elliott was the first female member of the Lincoln Board of Education back in 1887. During her time in Lincoln, she also was the first president of the Lincoln Woman’s Club from 1894 to 1896, and Elliott Elementary School carries her name.

Most of the public has to wait until Friday, during the grand opening of the zoo’s expansion, to meet Phoebe and her fellow giraffes: Joey, Allie and one who has yet to be named.

Background information about the name Phoebe and Lincoln Public Schools:

Phoebe/Phebe Elliott

  • 1886:  Miss P. L. Elliott is listed in the census as living in Lincoln. Her name was listed as Phebe.
  • 1887: First female member of the Lincoln Board of Education – re-elected in 1891.

Newspapers reported that:

  • Elliott has “borne the brunt of pioneering the way for women on the board.”
  • “The thought of women being placed on boards of education is growing one.”
  • 1888: A vote was cast to have the school – then located at 26th and O streets – carry her name: Elliott Elementary School.
  • 1924: Elliott passed away.

Published: May 8, 2019, Updated: May 8, 2019

Meadow Lane first-grader Iggy Malik feeds Phoebe the giraffe with his classmate Phoebe Gordon