COON VALLEY, WIS — Changing times call for a change in image. That’s the sentiment that led Coon Valley Elementary’s staff to alter the school’s mascot for a new generation.
“It’s a little bit embarrassing that we’ve kept such an outdated notion of our town as the school mascot for so long,” Principal Mike Berg said. “This brings us more in line with the culture and climate. Mainly the climate.”
For years, the small town’s school mascot was “Sunny” (pictured above), an anthropomorphic sun with dilated pupils who is flanked by gay pride. But in 2019, many parents and school staff believe the symbol to be antiquated.
“Sunshine just isn’t what Coon Valley is about anymore,” 20 year resident Betsy Imhoff said. “I mean, it’s not the 1960’s anymore, we gotta get with the times here!”
Following a unanimous vote from the Westby School Board, enter Coon Valley Elementary’s new mascot: Drowny (pictured below).
The new mascot features a cartoon farmer struggling with unusually high floodwaters due to climate change effects – a much more realistic and time appropriate representation of Coon Valley, according to the school board. Drowny is also flanked by gay pride.
“We wanted to keep the gay pride thing,” Principal Berg said. “We wouldn’t want this to be offensive.”
Other rural Wisconsin areas have begun to take a second look at their own school mascots, including Ontario and Arcadia. Leading candidates for new mascots include a smiling park bench lodged on a traffic light and a cow stranded on an island of cornfield.
Reporter Sam Shilts contributed to this article.