Bears or Panthers? Carolina Forest Elementary weighs the mascot battle

Carolina Forest Elementary School considers changing mascots from bear cubs (current mascot on left) to panther cubs (possible future mascot on right).

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Carolina Forest Elementary School could see some changes to the school’s décor next year. The school’s principal wants to replace the current mascot to better match Carolina Forest High School.

School principal Dennis Devorick says changing the elementary school’s mascot from a bear cub to a panther cub will help unify the Carolina Forest portion of the school district.

“We’ve been trying to find a way to just unify our district together,” explains Devorick. “Typically, a high school is the unifying building in any community. We just want to show unity with the high school’s spirit.”

Devorick estimates it will cost about $5,000 to replace school t-shirts, decorations, and letterhead. That amount, however, does not include if the elementary school was re-painted to match the high school’s crimson, black, and silver colors.

“That cost would increase a little bit but I don’t have the exact figures right now,” explains Devorick.

Carolina Forest High School Principal Gayle Driggers says she likes the idea of community identity.

“As we grow, maybe other middle schools or other elementary schools may choose to do the same thing, but whether they do or not, we’re going to be a community and work well together,” assures Driggers.

Parents seem to have mixed reaction over the potential change, some saying

Carolina Forest Elementary School considers changing mascots from bear cubs (current mascot on left) to panther cubs (possible future mascot on right).

the change itself isn’t going to matter that much to the younger kids.

“I think it’s a very good proposal,” voices Alberto Zambrano, Carolina Forest Elementary parent. “That way, they’re going to be on the same page with the high school in the coming grades.”

Jill Kimble, another elementary school parent, doubts the children would even notice the change.

“I’m pretty sure that most of the kids don’t care, you know, what the mascot is,” says Kimble. “They’re just happy to be at school. It’s really not a big issue for us. We have no ties to the panthers.”

When News13 visited the elementary school, at least one student was more than sure which animal was better.

“Would you rather be a panther or a bear?” asks News13’s Maggie Lorenz.

“A bear!” shouts the student.

“What does a bear say?” Lorenz continues.

“Raawwrr!”

Devorick and other school officials will present the proposal to the board of education Sept. 25.  If approved, Devorick says the elementary school could start seeing changes this year, but ultimately, the project will be complete next school year.