PV, SWG Jaguars show their colors

GOWRIE – Two teams became one Thursday.

With Prairie Valley and Southeast Webster Grand school districts sharing activities for grades five through 12 starting in August, an agreement approved by both school boards in January, the two districts needed a single team.

Together, they are now the Southeast Valley Jaguars. Their colors: teal, silver and black.

“You witnessed 14 communities and two school districts coming together to celebrate what the kids brought, what the kids wanted,” Launi Dane, SWG superintendent, said. “That’s what was important about tonight. It’s about the kids.”

On March 5, student council members from grades seven through 11 of both PV and SWG districts presented to the school boards three choices each for a team name, mascot and colors.

“They selected the names, they selected the colors,” Dane said. “There was no input from any adults.”

The colors were shown first as bunches of three balloons before an eager audience of more than 100 at a joint meeting of both district boards Thursday.

The selection, voted on by the students of both districts on March 11, was announced when two of the bunches were taken away. Parents and students from both districts erupted in cheers and applause.

Two banners were then shown, with the new team name and mascot. One banner will be displayed in Prairie Valley High School and the other in SWG High School.

Afterwards, both districts together approved the new name, mascot and colors.

“We kept this secret from them for almost a week and a half,” Dane said. “Lois Irwin (PV superintendent) counted the votes last Tuesday.”

Shannon Miller, PV school board president, joining in the mutual celebration, lauded the students’ efforts.

“I think it’s a pretty exciting time, and I’m happy the kids are all excited about it,” he said. “I look forward to the next year.”

Dustin Hector, SWG school board president, said it was an exciting night.

“I think the students did a great job. It’s an important part of the moving-forward process,” he said. “I’m really happy for the kids, really happy for the school. And I’m looking forward to what else is to come.”

The night was integral, Hector said, to greater community cooperation in the future.

“It’s very nice to see the communities are coming together, the kids are coming together,” he said. “I’m looking forward to what else the kids and the community can do moving forward.”

Dane said she enjoyed seeing the two communities come together after nearly a year of passionate discussion on the subject of whole grade and activities sharing.

“It’s a new start,” she said. “There’s excitement again, about what we are. Bringing back that enthusiasm, that’s what I wanted. I wanted people to be proud of what they’re doing, and that’s why we did this presentation tonight. We wanted to make it special for the kids and the community.”

She added, “We’re coming together, and moving forward as a group.”

Following the boards’ approval bead necklaces in teal, silver and black were handed out, and by the end of the night members of both school communities were wearing the same colors.