December 11, 2017
Senior John Morgan McDonald Enjoys Role as Mascot
He can be seen giving high fives in the car drop-off line, cheering on the Wolverines at various sporting events, and posing for pictures with Wolverine fans. He is mighty and fierce while being kind and friendly. He is loyal to all things Prince Avenue. He is Winston the Wolverine!
Winston is a larger than life Wolverine who wears a Prince Avenue football uniform. He first made his appearance as Prince Avenue Christian School’s mascot in 2014. Since then, several students, including Curry Cross, Nathan Anderson, and now John Morgan McDonald, have faithfully played the part of the endeared mascot.
Playing the role of Winston is not an easy job. It requires dedication. John Morgan explains, “It takes about ten minutes and two helpers to get suited up. The suit has two ice packs, one for the chest and one that fits like a ski mask for the face. I am so cold when I first put them on; I feel like I am a snowman. As time goes on, I am so glad to have the ice packs because I am sweating in the costume.” John Morgan stays in the costume no more than two hours at a time with breaks every 20 minutes for water. In the midst of all of this, John Morgan says the most difficult part of being Winston is staying in character. “I cannot speak or make any noises. It might sound easy, but it is very hard to do.”
John Morgan explains that dressing up as Winston ironically allows him to be social and funny when normally he is reserved. “I am not the most outgoing guy in my high school, but when I am Winston, I dance, strut, shake, and play with everyone in the school from pre-school students to our Head of School. It has given me the opportunity to be the extrovert without worrying about what anyone else thinks.”
While bringing Winston to life and being the crowd pleaser is fun, John Morgan says that the most rewarding part of the job is interacting with the youngest children in the school. He says many of these youngsters are afraid of Winston when they first encounter him, but John Morgan has worked to win them over.
Prince Avenue’s Director of Development, Kim Brannon, says that John Morgan is very talented as Winston and has gone to extra effort to help the youngest students in the school understand who Winston is. “We realized that some of our youngest students were afraid of Winston. We wanted to help them understand not to be scared, so we arranged for Winston to visit the kindergarten classes and for John Morgan to take off the head of the costume and show the children that Winston is pretend.”
It worked! The children were able to see and understand that Winston was really John Morgan. They had the opportunity to touch the costume and ask John Morgan questions. “I found after getting down on their level, taking my time, and being very gentle, these same kids have gotten over their fears and now rush to see Winston.”
Ultimately the aspect of winning over the youngest Wolverines is John Morgan’s favorite part of the job. “I have really enjoyed bringing Winston to life and stirring up the crowd every Friday night, but I think the biggest memory I will take with me is knowing that I might have helped a little one get past at least one fear in life and have fun with the big hairy Wolverine in the hallway.”
(Photo Credit: James Dunn, Maverick Productions, LLC)