Every school has a unique mascot whose job is to hype up the crowd for student spirit and pride at games and events.
It’s no different for the Emmaus High School mascot, the EHS Hornet. The Hornet has been the school’s mascot ever since the school building was finished in 1955, but this year the Hornet is calling out for some help from the community.
Sophomore Zach Conner, who has been at the forefront of cheering on athletes and other groups, is hoping to raise enough money to help fix the costume that he dons as the mascot. For the past few months, the Conner family has organized several fundraisers to help repair the green-and-white costume.
His mom, Jennifer, has played a large part in the social media and community efforts to raise awareness for the repairs as well as raise awareness for autism.
Administration agrees the costume requires repair.
“[The mascot] needs to be fixed,” said Marc Zimmerman, the assistant activities director. “It’s been … too long. My guess would be around 12 years.”
Zimmerman said he picks a new a new person every year to be the Emmaus Hornet. Whenever a new person is chosen, they have the option to decide whether or not they want to be involved. Conner jumped right in.
“Last year it was used for only a few football games,” Zimmerman said. “When Zach became the new mascot, he went to football, baseball, softball, soccer games and some events.”
He estimated that Conner has attended over 30 games and more than a dozen events.
Zimmerman said Conner has practiced with the cheerleaders after school, and he has been getting into the community more. He then said that the suit itself will be usable for only another few years.
“At this point, the suit’s wings have fallen off and the material is wearing down and some parts are missing,” Zimmerman said. “It’s still usable for now, but the suit isn’t in the best quality.”
The school isn’t really focused on the mascot issue since this past annual school meeting about the budget in October. Zimmerman said it would cost $3,000 to $4,000 to buy a new suit..
“We haven’t been trying, not in the budget department, but Zach and his mom have been fundraising,” Zimmerman said. “They have started a GoFundMe page and they have put a few cans around the school to put money in.”
Conner talked about his journey and experience so far as the EHS mascot. He said that he saw an ad about being the new EHS mascot, so he emailed Zimmerman without his parents even knowing.
“On Aug. 29th, the second day of school, the cheer coach and Zimmerman met with my mom,” Conner said. “She wasn’t mad at me for not telling her, and that night I met with the cheer team. I was nervous at first, but later I wasn’t nervous anymore.”
Conner said he wasn’t always interested in becoming a mascot, but his mom suggested him to get into the community a bit more. And so he decided to become the Hornet.
“Before a game or an event, I get a quick dinner and then I get geared up and meet up with the cheerleaders,” Conner said. “The cheerleaders are really great women.”
Conner is currently planning to go to more games and events this Spring, one of them being the Special Olympics on May 4th. He mentioned that the large suit has a few fans inside of it to keep the person cool and, on the outside, you can hear what sounds like a buzzing noise. At this moment, the helmet is made of paper mache and the foot covers are hard to snap on. Conner mentioned at one game a little girl pointed out that the hornet had no wings.
Conner said that he and his mom are trying to help and are doing what they can to repair the suit to its former glory.
“At events and games, I stand behind stands and try to raise money there,” Conner said. “One way is we are selling chocolate hornets for $2. So far we’ve raised $510 and we need to raise $5,000 before June. I’ve also made a Twitter and a GoFundMe page to help raise awareness.”
If you are interested in helping to repair the EHS Hornet, visit Twitter and search @EHSHornetfund where Conner has linked his GoFundMe page. There you can donate money to help fund the fundraiser.