Deer Diary: Who is Canela?

Who is Canela? And what happened to her?


Leena Martin

Photograph of a student kissing the Taxidermy deer head known as “Canela.”

Madeline Hiser, Public Relations Editor

Throughout the years at Troy High School, the TC Line has carried around a biohazardous, taxidermized deer head named Canela. The name Canela has become a rather popular topic around Troy High School, along with the phrase “Kiss Canela.” Canela has become so infamous in the Troy community that even Troy Athens High School has shown an interest in her, adding to her value at Troy High School and even possibly several other schools. This leaves many people, especially students at Troy High School, wondering why Canela is so worshipped by the TC Line but feared by everybody else. With numerous rumors surrounding what happens to Canela, where she came from and how old she is, it leaves one to wonder, what really happens to Canela behind the scenes? 

The story of Canela is intrinsically tied to the story of the TC line. Many people question what the TC Line actually is. With Troy High School being one of few schools that has a group leading the student section in such a commanding way, there is a lot of confusion regarding what it actually is. 

Senior James Levitt, leader of the TC Line, described it as, “Just like a group of friends who basically lead the student section.” 

However, after surveying students from Troy High School asking them to describe the TC Line in one word, they used terms such as “cult”, “cocky”, “popular”, “traumatizing” and even “sexist.” 

The way in which the TC Line members are selected may shed some light as to why students chose these strong negative terms to describe the group. According to members of the TC Line, after graduation, the head of the TC Line choses the next person to later become the new head of the TC Line. After this initial selection, the new head choses who else joins the line. There are no real requirements or joining process of any kind, making it almost impossible for someone who is not friends with the head of the line to join. Furthermore, this can help us understand why students used these strong terms when asked to define the TC Line. 

With all of this in mind, it is also important to remember that at some point, Canela did, in fact, look like a real deer. Now, however, she is missing hair, missing her nose and lacks ears and antlers. Which begs the question, why does Canela look like she got thrown through a garbage disposal? One of the main reasons is that she is transported to countless Troy High School sporting events and carried around constantly, causing wear and tear to the fragile physical state of the deer. Taxidermy animals are usually not used as mascots and are not made to withstand the amount of physical contact that Canela endures. 

“Over the years, people just, using it for different purposes, just kind of screwed it up a little bit,” senior Ray Mazreku stated after being asked why Canela looks the way she does. The age of Canela could also be a factor, with people stating she could be up to 20 years old, which could mean she has seen and experienced many unpleasant things in her days at Troy High School.

Typically, Canela is only spotted by students during sports games, which leads to the question, where is she kept and who keeps her? This question has left many students puzzled, adding to the eerie schoolwide mystery of Canela. 

Senior Paul Nicholson, who is a member of the TC Line, clarified that the majority of the time, Canela resides in Levitt’s car. However, sometimes Canela is kept with other members of the TC Line on separate occasions. 

Canela’s mystique is further problematized by the constant rumors circulating around Troy High about what bodily fluids may or may not have ended up on Canela. After asking a few members of the TC Line what happens to Canela or what they do to Canela behind closed doors, their responses were, “we can’t answer that,” and “that is not school appropriate.”

When Mazreku was asked if the rumor that the TC Line urinates on Canela is true, he responded, “no comment,” which is a very disturbing thing to think about. Even more disturbing is the added rumor that urine is not the only fluid placed on our dear Canela. Now, it’s clear that having some mystery surrounding this deformed deer head could be interpreted as comical and may even contribute to the crazy aesthetic of Troy High School’s spirit line. However, the thought that the line could possibly be subjecting poor Canela to these outrageous acts, and then pressuring other students to kiss the deer, is quite alarming.

This football game tradition of “Kiss Canela” is reported to be the root of many students’ negative feelings about the TC Line. In this tradition, members of the line carry the deer head throughout the student section, pressuring students (particularly underclassmen) to kiss Canela.

Getting exposed to such a strange tradition for new coming freshmen who are just now adjusting to the lifestyle of high school can naturally cause fear, discomfort, and many other negative emotions due to the heavy peer pressure there is to kiss Canela. 

According to AJ Kowalak, a Troy High School alumnus, the trend “originally was probably just a good luck thing, to kiss Canela for good luck,” but now freshmen and even other grade levels are peer pressured and forced into kissing Canela. The TC Line generally targets the new freshmen who likely do not know who Canela is, or the rumors surrounding her, to follow through with the “Kiss Canela” tradition. 

It is no secret that Canela’s appearance does not give off the impression of cleanliness, or even a somewhat welcoming impression, but then if you take into account how many students there are at Troy High School, and how long Canela has been in existence, that thought alone can be horrifying to process, especially considering how many people could have kissed her over the many years she has been in the possession of the TC Line. Possibly hundreds, maybe even thousands of students’ lips could have come into contact with her. 

Although “Kiss Canela” can be perceived as a very disturbing and alarming tradition, it is also one of Troy High School’s main distinctive qualities. Canela can be viewed as a symbol of past Troy High School students leaving their mark on the school, whether that mark be good or bad. She serves as a connection between former Troy High School graduates and current students in a way that few other schools have been able to replicate. This holds great value when regarding sports teams and the students in the crowd cheering on our athletes. 

Canela has been passed down through hundreds, if not even thousands of students and it is likely that her legacy will live on through many more generations of Troy High School students. Even though Canela is a deceased, taxidermized and honestly probably biohazardous deer head that could, at this point, carry multiple diseases because of the torture she has endured, she is still treated like a part of our school that unifies us, and keeps our school spirit alive in the strangest way possible.