Deer Pressure

Troy High’s deer head has been a subject of controversy among students and staff alike


Olivia Perron

Senior Omar Ibrahim holds the deer head at the gold-out game.

AJ Kowalak, Staff Writer

Troy High’s deer head, Canela, is synonymous with many things. When most students hear the name Canela, they may think about the TC Line or their first high school football game in the student section. One of the more serious things that is associated with Canela is peer pressure. For many freshmen, to be pressured or even forced to kiss the deer head can be overwhelming. There comes a point where a tradition must be questioned to determine whether it is just a tradition or an excuse to harass students in a never-ending cycle of uncomfortable anxiety.

Canela is one of the more controversial things brought to a football game. Canela was originally found on the side of the road in the garbage by David Kennedy, a now-graduated student. She was brought to one football game, then another and then the rest of the season and she became tradition. After an injury and hundreds of close calls, Canela had her first surgery: antler removal. She has been spray-painted, urinated on and has had major hair loss over the years.

If the deer head was near me, I would probably be a bit scared.”

— Freshman Nicholas Von Eper

After freshman year, the stress of Canela started to dissipate for Sophomore Marco Papadelis.
“I think it’s a cool tradition that’s been in the school for a long time,” Papadelis said. “Sometimes it gets out of hand, but for the most part I think it’s a cool funny thing and no one’s really offended by it.”
Papadelis is not the only one who feels this way. Tommy Douglas, senior and member of the TC Line, believes Canela is a symbol of pride for students.

“It’s just tradition, kids have just always done it and we are just trying to follow tradition,” Douglas said. “I thought it was the grossest thing in the world. I never wanted to touch that thing, then you grow up and you realize it’s like the pride of our school.”

One teacher is confused on why Canela is the pride of the student body.

“It’s ridiculous,” History Teacher Scott Gibbons said. “We’re Colt Country, how does a deer become the unofficial mascot of the students? It seemed bizarre. Traditions are important, so long as it doesn’t cross into bullying.”

For freshman Nicholas Von Eper Canela can be a scary topic.

“I thought it would be a minor thing, like every now and then there would be a deer head,” Von Eper said. “If the deer head was near me, I would probably be a bit scared.”

It’s just tradition, kids have just always done it and we are just trying to follow tradition”

— Senior Tommy Douglas

To Will Smally, senior and TC Line member, however, the pressure to kiss Canela shouldn’t be viewed as harassment.

“It’s tradition, I had to kiss it when I was a freshman, sophomore [and] junior,” Smally said. “Now that I’m a senior and I’m on the other side of the fence, of course I’m gonna make the other kids kiss it.”
Peer Mediation Adviser Gail Yax doesn’t seem to take issue with the taxidermied deer head.

“I think it’s a good piece of spirit, the students rely on it for spirit. I’d like to see a new one,” Yax said. “[Kissing Canela] should never be required, it should only be if you want to.”
Throughout her history, Canela has been a debated topic. Whether she is just a harmless tradition or an excuse to instill peer pressure is hard to say.