Lightning Strikes Lincoln with Delight!

Lightning Strikes Lincoln with Delight!


  • The adage “March comes in a like a lion” could not have been more true at Lincoln Avenue Elementary School this year.  A special celebration to welcome a new member to the Lincoln Community was held on the eve of March 1st (technically, February 28th) to lift the spirits of the children. Along with the distribution of Italian ices, a lion mascot—unique to Lincoln Avenue—visited every classroom and was introduced to all the students.

    The plan to provide Lincoln with their own distinctive mascot was long in coming. “The Lincoln Avenue Mascot,” Principal Christine Carlson explained, “was a joint initiative between the PTA and the Site-Based Team Committee.” The committee believed that giving the Lincoln students a loveable character with whom they could “bond” would be effective in boosting the morale of the students as well as addressing their social emotional wellness. Especially during the pandemic, the committee wanted to use a mascot to bring fun and joy into the student’s classrooms and special activities. The adorable lion costume, donated by Azure Skies Travel, seemed a good fit for a school name that began with the letter “L.”

    “The idea also supported the goal of bringing the school together again,” PTA co-President Allison Rothstein said, “as certain aspects of the school year have still been limited by COVID, for example, the children had not been able to come together as one group during school assemblies. This helps remind them that they are a part of a bigger community/school family and not just an individual class.” 

    Involving the students in the project was the next step.  “Some of the students were so excited about the idea of the new mascot,” Mrs. Rothstein noted, “that they asked Mrs. Carlson multiple times a week as they came to school when it would be arriving and what its name would be?”

    The Lincoln Avenue students were given an opportunity to vote for the name of the lion. The choices were Lincoln, Lucky or Lightning. “Overwhelmingly, the students chose ‘Lightning,’” Mrs. Carlson shared. However, the winning name was “kept a surprise until minutes before Lightning visited each classroom.  Lightning is also a very fitting choice, given the District's Golden Flashes athletes,” added Mrs. Rothstein.   

    On fluffy lion feet, Lightning the Lion made his debut, strolling through Lincoln Avenue halls and into the classrooms, escorted by PTA handlers.  For many children, it was love at first sight—they squealed with delight and clapped hands with approval. “You look like my grandpa,” one child said. Some even roared a welcome for their new mascot. For others, there were a few moments of guarded curiosity, but by the end of each classroom visit, the warm and fuzzy lion was surrounded by hugging children.

    During the Meet-and-Greet sessions, the students raised questions about their new mascot and learned his favorite sport is soccer, his favorite month is March, and his favorite color is the same tawny brown of his fur.  One student had a question, not for Lightning, but for his teacher: “Can we eat this now, or not?” he asked, referring to his Italian ice, a special treat provided by the PTA during Lightning’s inaugural activity. After the chuckles subsided, Lightning's PTA escort Mrs. Dinkel, serving as the mascot's translator, gave an enthusiastic, “Yes!”

    The entire Lincoln Avenue community enjoyed meeting Lightning that day. Special thanks go to Lightning the Lion’s “personal assistant,” PTA co-Vice President Gaby McQuillen. During Lightning’s introductions, he was escorted by several PTA board members including Connie Dinkel (Treasurer), Jackie Amato (co-President), Stephanie Stoddard (Recording Secretary), Leslie Jantz (Corresponding Secretary), and Allison Rothstein (co-President).While Stephanie Flynn (co-Vice President) was unable to be present for the unveiling, the PTA members expressed their gratitude for her integral part of this mascot development. 

    “As part of welcoming our new mascot,” Mrs. Carlson added, “Lincoln Avenue will be ‘Roaring into Reading’ in April as we kick off a jungle-themed PARP celebration.” Lightning is looking forward to it, along with joining in on many other fun school events.


Lifts spirits
high five
More hugs
Even more hugs