By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – There’s debate over the origin of a high school mascot.

United South Central in Wells just opened a new school this year, and their mascot is a Rebel.

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The Rebel can be found everywhere: It’s literally etched in stone in the high school gymnasium.

Stephanie Gonsalez, a 2005 graduate, is among those who take pride in her school’s mascot.

“I love Reggie the Rebel. I grew up a Rebel, started school as a Rebel, always been a Rebel,” she said. “I think it looks awesome. I love the way it looks. It doesn’t look like anything, a soldier or anything like that.”

But at least one taxpayer is rebelling against the Rebel.

“I certainly took note that it was a Rebel Confederate soldier,” said Michael Virnig.

Virnig said the current Reggie the Rebel doesn’t look as much like a Confederate soldier as his predecessors did. But he’s still standing against the image and the name.

“Rebels were Confederate soldiers,” Virnig said. “What does that have to do with this area? It’s a very negative image. Just the Rebel name. If you look up synonyms for Rebel, an awful lot of negative synonyms come up.”

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Virnig has gone before the school board, and he also feels that Reggie doesn’t represent female students.

But Reggie still has plenty of reinforcements.

“I don’t feel that way,” Gonsalez said. “I played volleyball. We were the Rebels and the Lady Rebels. Or the boys were just the Rebels.”

“I think of strength,” said Reggie supporter Emma Olson. “I’ve never thought of the Confederacy. I’ve never thought of that.”

The mascot has been a part of USC since the early 90s.

Virnig said he has received support, and he plans to go before the school board again, but so far there are no plans to change the mascot.


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John Lauritsen