Although he’s so new he doesn’t yet have a name, Mackay cheerleading coach Amber Hulse said the Mackay Miners mascot got a chance to shine before the student body at a pep assembly held the first week of school.
This will be the first time in about 15 years the Miners will have a plushy caricature to cheer with, according to Hulse. Mackay administrators wanted to obtain a miner outfit three or four years ago, but Hulse said it was a matter of finding the money. An anonymous donor paid for this red-clad miner costume, solving that problem.
Superintendent Susan Buescher said the conversation began because school leaders wanted to bulk up the cheerleading program. At the time, Buescher said there were three cheerleaders pepping up Mackay students. With 10 cheerleaders and a mascot now, Hulse is ready to get students excited.
Last year’s head cheerleader Kylie Donahue thought it would be funny to come to school with an “awful wig and a pickax” one day last year, according to Hulse. The look was well received, Hulse said, and motivated the cheerleading program into getting something more professional.
Since the miner is meant to represent the student body and athletes, Hulse and Buescher said they decided to let students name him through a contest. There have been a few inappropriate submissions, but Hulse said “they’re teenagers, what can you expect?”
Hulse believes the mascot will help excite students at games and other functions. The whole purpose of a cheerleading program is to amp students up at public events and instill a sense of school pride, Hulse said.
Hulse wants to return school spirit levels to where they were before the coronavirus pandemic. Last year, because of intermittent COVID-19 outbreaks, many Mackay sports and school events were canceled. This was a hit to Mackay students’ high school experiences, according to Hulse, because they weren’t able to congregate, cheer for their fellow Miners and experience what it’s like to get amped up sitting in the student section.
With a mascot to goad them on now, Hulse said students have one less excuse to not have school spirit.