SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO) — They can take the form of a lion, a patriot, a bear or a cat.
A high school mascot comes in many forms. This week, we’ve found your choice for the best in the state.
WCCO voters sent us to Shakopee High School. As Susan-Elizabeth Littlefield shows us, the school has more than 2,600 students, and one is the best mascot in Minnesota.
By day, he has the anonymity of being a good kid with a good sense of humor.
By night, he has the attention of the entire room. Jack Neil is Sammy the Saber. The Shakopee High School senior is 6 foot, 5 inches tall.
Football wasn’t his thing, so he tried out to be the leader of the sidelines.
“I went for it and I got it and it was so amazing. As soon as they read my name, Jack Neil mascot, just screamed yes,” Neil said.
His biggest fan calls it a perfect fit.
“We saw that it was coming out, we saw it, he kind of coming out. He could dance around, he could have fun with people, it was just the best thing ever. This is just really his thing,” his mother, Jennifer Gleisner, said.
And clearly, it is.
“I’m not surprised because honestly he’s so good. Honestly, I can’t imagine someone else being a better mascot. He’s so energized, he loves what he does and it really shows,” Shakopee Cheerleading Squad Captain Kassandra Teneyck said.
But don’t think that this accolade is going to his big head.
He’s known for his inclusive attitude, and always being there to lend a helping hand.
So what’s his favorite part?
“Just the best part is making people happy and knowing that they are happy makes me happy. It’s just great,” Neil said.
And school leaders say he’s doing a great job. He’s expanded Sammy to a community figure, launching Sammy’s Facebook and Instagram. That’s how he got a message from a student he’ll never forget.
“He goes ‘thank you so much for dancing with me, it really made my year.’ I was reading it, I was choking. I was tearing up a bit knowing that I impacted someone’s life like that, it’s great,” Neil said.
And they think he’s pretty great too.
Jack plans to study acting after he graduates. He has a dream of one day becoming a character at Disney World.