What the River Rat?


An actual river rat. It's not the same as a regular rat.

Karalyne Chesser and Clara Mitchell

When our school opened in 1996, students and staff had to decide on a mascot. But how in the world did we land on the river rat? We decided to interview some of Black River’s original staff and find out. 

We started, naturally with the good doctor, Greg Dykhouse. He blames Claudia Ruf. A former teacher and Dean of Students, she liked her old high school mascot: the notorious river rat. She talked to the students to try to reinforce this idea, got them excited about it, and it was approved. 

But the next year, Dykhouse says, the students had second thoughts. They decided they wanted to be the Black River Raptors, but the idea was denied.

Head of School Shannon Brunink, however, has a different story to tell. The students originally wanted to be The Black River Raptors, he says, but the former BR athletic directed wanted the mascot to be the Black River Current. This was vetoed by the students because “they thought it sounded like a currant, like the raisin.” 

Yes, The Current is now the title of this newspaper, and we love it, and it does not remind us of raisins.

For more perspective, one may always turn to Dean of Students John Donnelly, who believes that the mascot should be something like the Black River Bears or the Black River Rainbow Trout, because “a rat is just one step up from a mouse.” Which, we guess, he thinks is a bad thing.

But Spanish teacher Kim Bishop disagrees with Donnelly. She thinks that the River Rat stands out from the other school mascots, and states, “The rat is powerful, even though it’s small.” She claims that the first Head of School, Jake Jacobusse, thought the Black River Rats was perfect because it shows our uniqueness. 

Well, it does do that.

Just be glad we aren’t the Black River Raisins.