While most people have possibly unattainable entries on their “bucket lists” along the lines of going bungee jumping or climbing Mount Everest, sophomore Caleb Latas had a slightly less lofty goal that he was able to cross off of his list last year: to be a mascot at least one time.
Latas happened upon his opportunity to be the school mascot, JJ the Jaguar, by luck. During an idle moment in art class last year, his chance to shine presented itself, and he jumped at the opportunity.
“I had Mrs. Crist for class and she asked if anyone wanted to be the mascot for the game that night. I said I would,” Latas said. “I’d call it history from there.”
Although Latas does not remember much about his first game, it clearly made an impression on him since he has been dressing up as JJ the Jaguar ever since. In his second consecutive year as JJ, Latas can be found encouraging spirit in character at pep assemblies and football games.
Latas has a good time with the job he volunteers to do because of the freedom that comes with it.
“I can just do whatever: dance, have fun and shake my booty,” Latas said. “There’s a lot of room for creativity in how I want to entertain people.”
According to Latas, the hardest thing about the job is getting dressed, especially in inclement weather. Depending on the weather, it can take him 10 to 20 minutes to prepare because of the amount of clothing he needs to wear to stay warm. However, Latas says in order to fully mentally prepare to be a mascot, “it takes about three years.”
Junior John Beck appreciates Latas’ talent and enthusiasm as JJ the Jaguar.
“I think [Latas] does a good job encouraging the crowd to getting the crowd involved and cheering on our teams,” Beck said.
Latas continues entertaining the school population simply for his own enjoyment.
“It’s fun,” Latas said. “It’s just cool being the mascot.”
After the Perry Freshmen-Sophomore meet and the Shawnee Mission North Non-Qualifiers both on Monday, April 30, the junior varsity track season came to an end.
Freshman Caleb Latas said that the conclusion of the season left him with mixed emotions.
“I’m sad that I’m now finished running,” Latas said. “But at the same time, I’m glad that I can go home and just work on homework after school.”
Sophomore Jordan Townsend viewed the track season as stressful.
“It was really difficult to manage the late track meets,” Townsend said. “Doing homework and being sore just don’t mix.”