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De Anza should proudly embrace its mascot, the ‘Don’

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Trisha Reyes

Surprisingly, De Anza actually has a mascot, and it’s not that iconic arch that is plastered all over the website and commonly associated with the school’s logo. We are actually the De Anza Dons. That’s right. You’re a Don; I’m a don.  We are all De Anza Dons.

A “Don” has been known to be an overly glorified way to address a Spanish noble. Our institution has many names relating to the Spanish culture, including the name of our college, the school newspaper, and the mascot itself. Simultaneously, many have dropped useage of the Don because of its ties to Spanish conquistadors and all the horrible things they did.

So what good is having a mascot if we don’t know who or what it actually is?

The correct answer is that there probably is not a good reason to have a mascot, beyond the necessary needs of sports representation. Yet, De Anza is seriously struggling with enrollment, so financial constrictions posit that indeed De Anza should not change its mascot.

The controversy of changing our school mascot has been an ongoing topic of discussion for years. In May 2013, there was an active petition of 136 supporters in favor of changing the mascot.

Entirely eliminating the Don would be to remove a facet of the school’s identity, which is not exactly an easy route in itself, but the original hopes of changing the mascot were shut down due to the surprising financial cost of such a change.

What the mysterious “Don” might look like. Note: there is no actual pictorial representation of the Don.

The Physical Education department has been particularly reluctant because a change would affect their budget and certainly create externality costs. We would have to take into account the amount of money it would take to change the school colors, sports uniforms, and even the floor gym.

Given that we cannot financially support a complete upheaval of the Don, we should instead do a better job of using our mascot as a way to bring the student body together by uplifting it instead of shutting it down. Money should be used to add logos to our existing mascot and bringing it forth so that all students can actively represent it and be proud to be a Don. The presentation of a mascot, whether it be for a professional sports team, little league squad, or a college institution, is an important representation of the franchise or community as a whole. It should be at the forefront of school advertising and should naturally pop up as the main imagery associated with the campus.

Ultimately the face our mascot takes is far less significant than our willingness to unapologetically embrace it as a part of the school’s identity. If you ask me, De Anza seems far more eager to embrace an arbitrary arch than it does the De Anza Don.

My name is Trisha Reyes, and I’m a proud De Anza Don. It still feels a bit uncomfortable to say but with enough promotion of the Don, I think I could see myself getting there.

1 Comment

  • Wagonhead

    Great article, Trisha. Having studied California history for many years (my ancestors came here with the Portola expedition), and as a member of the Cupertino Fine Arts Commission, I care about an accurate and positive image of our city’s place in that history. I believe the school’s use of the “Don” imagery has very little connection to Spain’s dark history of conquest. Moreover, the Dons were often at odds with the missionary’s periodic exploitation of indigenous peoples over labor. Ironically, they had tougher issues with American incursions in California during the war with Mexico. I think the positive aspects of the world they created on our ranchos and farms outweighs any negatives. It’s a complex and fascinating story. And I think that is the key: create a consistent narrative about the Monta Vista HS Dons and stick with it. I’d be glad to help you do that if you’d like! —Mike Sanchez

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