It’s a hot, sunny California day, but the students at Cambridge Elementary School don’t seem to mind the heat as they line up on their playground blacktop. Dressed in school colors of black and red, the students prepare to meet their new school mascot — Cam the Panther Cub. Anticipation bubbles among the smallest students as familiar friends Pete the Panther from Chapman University and Patty Panther from Orange High School join the fun, offering high-fives and hugs to young fans.

“This is a very exciting day because our new mascot is here for the very first time!” booms Diane Lew, Cambridge Elementary School principal.

“Yeah!” 530 small voices cheer back with enthusiasm.

“This is very important because our new mascot represents all of our values that we have here at Cambridge.” Lew calls out. “We ROCK because we are what?”

The new Cambridge Panther Cubs respond with true Panther pride:

“Responsible!” “Organized!” “College and career-ready!” “Kind!”

The festivities kicked off with a performance by Orange High School cheerleaders and special guests, Patty the Panther and Orange High School principal Dennis McCuistion. Chapman University cheerleaders spoke to students about their special shared mascot. Cambridge Elementary’s Pep Squad led their classmates in cheers as Orange Unified School District Superintendent Gunn Marie Hansen, along with other administrators, applauded the school spirit.

At last, the Panther of the hour, Cam the Cub, leaped out from behind a screen to wow students and fans alike. The new mascot has a special meaning for the Cambridge Elementary School community. With Chapman University down the street and a stone’s throw from Orange High School, the Panther Cub mascot signals to students and parents that future educational opportunities are just around the corner.

“We used to be the Crusaders,” Lew says. “We changed to the Panther Cubs with the idea of making those connections to the community a little stronger. Now, we’re all future Panthers.”