The student bodies of Parker and Craig high schools established their identities long before Parker, the second school, opened.

In June 1966, the students who would attend Parker High School voted for green and gold as their colors, and the school board approved that choice in August.

In an editorial dated Dec. 16, 1966, the Janesville Daily Gazette suggested it was time for the former Janesville High School to reconsider its mascot, the bluebird.

“We have nothing against bluebirds,” the editorial insisted. “Quite the contrary. The bluebird is handsome, sweet-voiced and well-behaved.”

But was the bluebird the symbol of “ferocity, ruthlessness and guile which fans expect of their football eleven?”

After all, the bluebird “lives in constant apprehension of being imposed upon by the common sparrow.”

Asking fans to cheer for the Janesville Bluebirds to “tear ’em up, eat ’em alive” was like asking “Shirley Temple to go out and sock a policeman,” the editorial said.

Although many appropriate animal mascots had already been taken, “We would urge both Craig and Parker to look around for something a little more butchy.”

It’s unclear exactly when the student bodies of Craig and Parker picked their mascots, but by graduation day in June 1967, they were already calling themselves the Cougars and the Vikings.

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