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IUPUI Commencement

IUPUI shares its Jaguar Spirit

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Mascot costume donated to Justin Elementary

By Angela Randazzo Special to the Acorn

The furriest member of the Justin Elementary School (Simi Valley, CA) family stepped paw on campus for the first time last week.

The school's new mascot, a 6foot-tall spotted jaguar donated by Indiana UniversityPurdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI), caused quite a stir when it appeared unannounced in front of a surprised group of faculty, students and their families during Justin's annual back-to-school carnival Aug. 26.

Photos courtesy of Adam Crown/Justin Elementary School
FRIENDLY BEAST--Justin Elementary principal Marian Weaver poses with PTA president Annelise Crown, dressed in the jaguar costume that was donated to the school by a university in Indiana.

As Principal Marian Weaver welcomed guests to the event, Sheri Perdomo, PTA first vice president, took over the microphone and said it was time to introduce Weaver to the school's newest student.

Dressed in the jaguar costume, PTA president Annelise Crown emerged from inside the school to the sound of cheering pupils and the astonishment of an unsuspecting principal.

"It's just wonderful. I was so surprised I don't think I'll bother to go to bed tonight," Weaver said immediately afterwards.

The jaguar has long been the Justin Elementary mascot, but the school never had a costume to go with it.

"We've wanted to get a costume for our pride assemblies, but it's very expensive. That's why we didn't buy it," Weaver said.

BIG CAT GETS ITS PREY--Principal Weaver is taken by surprise by the mascot during Justin's annual back-to-school carnival as PTA vice president Sheri Perdomo enjoys the moment.

In her search for the proper attire, Crown emailed three universities with jaguar mascots looking to see if they had a retired costume to donate.

"I really wanted to promote school spirit this year," Crown said. "I felt that if we had a (real mascot) it would increase the kids' enthusiasm to come to school."

Crown found a taker in IUPUI. "I got a response within 24 hours," she said. "The e-mail said, 'Yes, we have an old mascot costume, and it's all yours.'"

The school will hold a contest to name the new mascot.