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Community concerns change high school mascot from Cougars

By Molly Farmer   |  Posted Jan 19th, 2012 @ 3:49pm


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DRAPER — Corner Canyon High School will not be associated with derogatory references toward women, nor will it be "BYU North" according to the Canyons Board of Education.

The new school under construction in Draper will be the future home of the Chargers — not the Cougars as 23 percent of students requested — after the board's decision Tuesday.

"The board said this is a brand new school and we want to unite the community. And if there's something out there that could divide it, let's not go there," said district spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook.

The board sought input on which colors, mascot and name the new school would have in December, ultimately deciding on Corner Canyon for a name and navy, silver and white for the colors. Ballots were sent out to 4,300 kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Draper communities that will feed into the school. Two hundred seventy-three wanted Cougars, 180 wanted Diamondback, 171 wanted Falcons and 141 wanted Raptors.

Some parents and patrons emailed and called board members, saying they were uncomfortable with the idea that their daughters on the drill team and as cheer-leading squad would be called Cougars — a slang reference for mature women who attract younger men.


The board said this is a brand new school and we want to unite the community. And if there's something out there that could divide it, let's not go there.

–Jennifer Toomer-Cook.


Other parents and students said they did not want to share a mascot with BYU, since the two schools colors would already be similar. Still others did not want the division that might come from "bringing up the BYU-Utah rivalry and unfortunately some of its underpinnings."

Ultimately, the board chose to be unique, Toomer-Cook said, and chose a mascot that would be the only one of its kind it the state. There are three high schools in the state with cougars as mascots, including Kearns High.

While student input was taken into consideration and appreciated, Toomer-Cook said it was always the board's intent to make the final decision. National media outlets highlighted the decision Thursday, and the district received many calls and emails.

"That's their responsibility to look at all of the input and make a decision," Toomer-Cook said. "(Media reports are) making it sound like it was already Cougars and we ripped it away from them."

Corner Canyon High is slated to open in fall 2013 and will have a capacity of 1,800 students.

Email:mfarmer@ksl.com

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