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Extreme Makeover, Mascot Edition

Goal to Raise $7,500 Under Way


A scraggly mascot doesn’t convey the image of a sports team to be reckoned with, so Thornapple Kellogg School District officials say it’s time to give its Trojan warrior a makeover.

They say the school’s mascot is in rough shape and has been getting a bad name around town. It wears a flimsy, faux leather tunic and skirt topped with an unstable face that some say resembles a bobblehead. Its eyes look like one of the seven dwarves and white, gauze-like material around its neck makes it look like it had recent neck surgery.

“It’s awful, it’s old, it’s gross and it’s full of mold,” says high school principal Tony Petersen, who estimated the costume is about 15 years old.

The district is in the midst of a fund-raising drive to buy a new Trojan mascot costume. It will be a full-body costume, instead of the current short-sleeve dress model, which leaves the arms bare and gives the mascot a different look depending on who wears it. The new costume will be still be black and orange, but much more defined, officials say, and covered arms will give it a buffer, tougher look, no matter who is underneath.

“It represents our district, and we didn’t use (the current one) as much as we should have because of its condition,” said Kristen Cove, a school board member who is on the new mascot committee.

Mascots may be a bit silly, Cove said, but having a good-looking one is a matter of pride. “When a mascot comes out, students love it,” she said, adding that younger ones often line up to have their picture taken with the Trojan.

The new mascot won’t just be used on athletic fields but also at special school events, parades, walkathons and more. “It’s important so the school can use it to connect to the community,” Petersen said. “It’s a great marketing piece.”

A new mascot costume will cost around $7,500, Cove said. The senior class of 2014 donated more than $1,000, which it had left in its budget, to get the fundraising started. A letter campaign to businesses and parents and a Facebook posting all have been drawing contributions.

Cove said they hope to have the new mascot on the field for the first football game next fall. A naming contest also is planned.

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio or email Linda.

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