Photo courtesy of Hi-Lights
Posted January 9, 2017
Plymouth High School has had a panther as its mascot since 1936 and a panther costume since at least 1961, according to research by the Hi-Lights staff.
That first costume consisted of a paper mache head; students wore their own black clothes underneath. The costume remained the same through the mid-1980s, with the head reconstructed sometime between 1979 and 1981.
In 1984, the pep club, a group tasked with “getting the student body to show real PHS school spirit,” according to the 1987 yearbook, set out to make a full costume. Pep club, under the direction of adviser Charles Hansen, sold panther jerseys, sweatshirts, T-shirts, panther painter hats, and home game passes.
By 1986, the club had raised enough money to buy the raw materials for the costume. Using a premade paper pattern, the mother of one of the students put the suit together.
In the early 2000s, that suit was replaced by a professionally made one. It still is in use, along with a second one purchased some time in the last 10 years.
In 2009, the panther was given the name Victor E. Panther by then counseling office secretary Lynn Gradinjan.
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