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PHS' First Deaf Bulldogs Mascot ‘Inspired’ by Role

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PHS' First Deaf Bulldogs Mascot ‘Inspired’ by Role
Posted on 11/23/2016
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There’s a new face behind the Portland High School Bulldogs mascot this year: Kamron King, a freshman at PHS who also is a Governor Baxter School for the Deaf student.

“I love being the first Deaf mascot for Portland High School,” Kamron said.

He was chosen for the role after responding to a school announcement seeking a volunteer to wear the PHS Bulldogs costume and inspire school spirit, said PHS Athletic Director Robert O’Leary. “Kamron applied for the position and did a great job on his interview and has taken over as our school mascot,” O’Leary said. “The mascot's role is to spread school spirit at all sporting events that they are able to attend, as well as pep rallies and other social events.”

Kamron said, “I became the PHS mascot because I enjoy supporting Portland sports teams and want people to know that the Portland Bulldogs are strong. I feel inspired when I put on the Bulldog mascot [costume], even though it’s very hot!”

“I really don't see this responsibility as more of a challenge for me because I'm Deaf,” Kamron continued. “The mascot doesn't talk. Deaf people are very visual. I use my eyes and my energy to get the crowd fired up. The one thing that is a challenge is that I sometimes miss it when little kids want high fives. I can hear the volume of the crowd cheering,  but I don't hear the kids yelling “Bulldog.” My coach helps me by tapping me on the shoulder and pointing. Then, I can give the little kids high fives.”

For thirteen years, the Portland Public Schools and the Maine Educational Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing /Governor Baxter School for the Deaf (MECDHH/GBSD ) have had an educational collaboration. In 2003, MECDHH/GBSD’s high school program moved from Mackworth Island to PHS, providing Deaf and Hard of Hearing students with access to classrooms and extracurricular programs that only a large, diverse urban school could provide. In 2010, the MECDHH/GBSD middle school program moved to Lyman Moore Middle School. And this year, the MECDHH/GBSD K-5 program expanded to East End Community School.

The collaboration provides an opportunity for PPS hearing students to learn American Sign Language, a popular class that serves as an important communication bridge to wider social experiences for all. 

MECDHH/GBSD students at PHS are an integral part of the school, John Jones, director of instruction for MECDHH/GBSD, has said. “While the Governor Baxter School for the Deaf’s mascot is a seagull, our students consider themselves to be Bulldogs!” Jones said.
Kameron King new Bulldog