School pride can run deep.
A school’s image is closely connected to its representative — its mascot. When Juanita High School’s (JHS) Rebels mascot underwent scrutiny to be changed to a more neutral image — a wombat — it struck a chord with past alumni.
Jill Jordan, JHS class of 1981, wanted to attach a positive connection with the Rebels mascot.
She reached out to other alumni through the JHS alumni Facebook page.
“I posted on the JHS Rebels alumni Facebook page something to the effect of: ‘Instead of arguing about Rebels and Wombats, we [Rebels] could do something positive in the community with our Rebel name attached, no matter the outcome of this issue,’” Jordan said.
She suggested the adopt-a-road program. Other alumni loved the idea.
The group’s first adopt-a-road litter clean up happened in October 2018. Though there were only three alumni at the event, Jordan said they enjoyed reconnecting and cleaning up the road. Following the event, they met up with other JHS alumni at Tony’s Sports Bar in Kingsgate.
“We chatted about how much we enjoyed getting together and helping the community, especially as JHS alumni,” Jordan said. “While at Tony’s, someone came up with the idea of doing an additional event, a holiday toy drive. Since some of us had connections with the owners of Tony’s, we started planning.”
The group partnered with Hopelink for the toy drive. They raised $1,000 and hundreds of toys.
JHS class of 1981 alum Christine Clark said she was excited to be a part of this project.
“I feel like we all want to give back to the community,” she said. “So many people can use the extra help, especially around the holidays.”
This year, the group is hosting its second annual Hopelink toy drive.
Clark said she is happy to be a part of the toy drive again.
“It’s fun and exciting,” she said. “It gives us a way to play Santa again.”
This second toy drive will be bigger than last year’s. This year brings more drop-off locations and more publicity.
There are toy drop-off boxes at the Kirkland Library, the Kingsgate Library and the La Corona Mexican Restaurant at 13520 100th Ave. NE, #10 in Kirkland.
Boxes were distributed late November and will be picked up Dec. 9.
“The beauty of this group is how much we have come to be very good friends,” Jordan said. “Almost 40 years out of high school and working together for our community. We hope to bring more alumni into our group and continue to make a difference in Kirkland.”
To learn more about the alumni group, visit www.facebook.com/groups/JuanitaHighSchoolAlumni.