HOULTON, Maine — The penguin is gone, and Houlton Middle-High School has a new mascot to fire up the crowds at sporting events.
The school unveiled “The Judge” mascot at a student assembly Jan. 8, and the character made its first appearance at Houlton’s girls basketball game against Central Aroostook later that night.
With a team name of “Shiretowners,” coming up with a mascot to cheer at sporting events has proven challenging. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines a “Shire Town” as “a town where a court of superior jurisdiction — such as a circuit court or a court with a jury — sits.”
“A committee started working on the possibility of a new mascot last year as the penguin costume had reached the end of its healthy life,” RSU 29 Superintendent Ellen Halliday said. “Plus, many comments over the years had been made regarding the penguin as a mascot. People did not know we had a penguin for the most part, and then they could not understand why we were penguins as we are called the Shiretowners.”
The penguin mascot was featured throughout the mid-1980s but in recent years has not been spotted at basketball games. It was resurrected for the Shires’ tournament run last year, but the costume showed pretty severe signs of aging.