Letter: In support of the Nevis Tiger mascot
The last issue of both the Park Rapids Enterprise and the Northwoods Press devoted print space to the movement that started to change the Nevis School mascot from the Tiger to the Tiger Muskie. I am opposed to this change. The public has been invited to the school board meeting Monday, Oct. 22 to voice their opinion and I urge all alumni to attend or send me a letter expressing your point of view.
The only reason given for making the change is to align with and support the Nevis community itself. Tourism is important in sustaining the economic well being of our town. Nevis is proud to be home to the world's largest Tiger Muskie. As a resort owner and former teacher, coach and athletic director employed by the Nevis School District, I do not see a need to make this connection. While it is important for the school and the community to work together, it is also vital that each maintain its own identity.
For the past 74-75 years, many young men and women have proudly worn the green and gold uniform and represented the Tigers both on the field and in the classroom.
Why is a school mascot important? It is the common denominator within a group. Mascots are good will ambassadors who symbolize a common trait. When I looked up the word I found it to be a person, animal or object thought to bring good luck. High school athletic teams want to be recognized for their fighting spirit or competitive nature. Warriors or predatory animals have personified these characteristics for many athletic teams. I have fished just enough to know that a Muskie can put up quite a fight. But I also believe that the Tiger is a more universally acceptable symbol.
Lynn Gustafsion, school secretary and NHS graduate, pointed out that the Tiger emblem is everywhere and it would be expensive to make the change. Board member Sherm Anderson explained the change would have to occur gradually. I don't know where this idea originated or why. I am concerned because I don't believe the community and/or alumni support this change as reported.
The newspaper reported that information presented at the school board meeting indicated most of the staff and over half the student body favored the change. Support was reportedly given from those who attended the anniversary celebration. I was employed for 33 years by the Nevis School District and am still employed as a bus driver. I conducted my own little survey and 34 out of 38 students on my bus route were opposed to the change. Most of the students hadn't heard about the proposed change and some asked, "What's a Muskie?"
My children both graduated from Nevis High School where they were active in sports and other school activities. They want to be remembered as "Tigers." During my tenure with the school district I was frequently called upon to fire up the team and student body at a pep fest. I support the Nevis Tigers. Thank you!