When the Shullsburg boys’ basketball team went to regionals last year, three 8th grade girls who followed the team to support their school couldn’t help but notice the mascots of other schools.
Bethany Moore, Kaylee Reuter and Gentry Spore brought up the subject back at school to some other students during class, and discussed trying to get a mascot back in action for Shullsburg.
When the trio went to teacher, Jackie Leitzinger, she gave them her support and some advice on how to proceed if they were serious about making this happen.
“It was really all them though,” said Leitzinger. “I was there for support mostly. They had it well under control on their own and didn’t shy away from anything.”
Moore, Reuter and Spore got to work researching mascot companies and creating a budget, even getting price quotes from 10 different companies—all on their own time. The girls then made a presentation to the Shullsburg School Board last spring, presenting their plan and options to resurrect the mascot.
After the board wholeheartedly approved of their plan, the girls started to look at how their plans would become a reality.
Originally the girls had anticipated that with a cost of several thousand dollars, obtaining the funds to purchase their mascot would take several years of fundraising and were hoping to accomplish the plan by their senior year. They started by placing a jar at Turpin’s Grocery in downtown Shullsburg, which collected $200.
However, after their presentation to the board, someone in attendance at the meeting suggested that they apply to the Shullsburg Fund to help finance the project. So, in June the girls started filling out the grant application.
They ended up receiving $2,750 from the Shullsburg Fund, which covered the total cost of the mascot the girls ordered from Promo Bears, a mascot company based in the Netherlands.
The $200 collected from the community jar went towards shipping cost.
Most of the communication with Promo Bears was done by the girls via email with a few phone calls. The girls sent a photo of the Shullsburg Miner logo to base the mascot off of, and then the company sent mock up images of what it would look like. After about 25 different options, the girls decided on a final image.
The mascot arrived around Sept. 5 and the plan is to unveil the mascot for the first time at the upcoming Shullsburg Homecoming pep rally on Friday, Sept. 25 at 7:30 p.m.
“Our goal was to help build pride for the school,” explained Reuter, “and I think it will really help with school spirit and encourage the players.”
“It’s nice knowing we made a difference for our school,” said Moore. “After we graduate we’ll know that we made this happen and that it will be around for a long time.”
There are about five students who have expressed interest in suiting up as Jesse Miner, so the efforts of Moore, Reuter and Spore to increase school spirit already seem to be in effect.
Shullsburg School District has been without a mascot for many years. The previous mascot was an old paper mache head, that hadn’t been used since around 1999 to the best of anyone’s knowledge.
Now that Moore, Reuter and Spore have successfully reached their goal, they are on the hunt for a new cause. But as they’re only freshmen in high school, they should have plenty of time to find another project to focus on.