By Debbie Adams
Mount Pleasant Elementary School has created a mascot, the “Little Terrier,” and named it “Preston” after their beloved building manager Gibson Preston.
Preston has worked for Roanoke County Schools for 37 years and has been assigned to Mount Pleasant since the early 1990s.
He has been reassigned to Fort Lewis Elementary as of November 1 due to the school division’s decision to outsource custodial duties at Mount Pleasant. Two other members of the custodial staff will be changing schools as well – Stanley Ragland and Jimmy Evans.
“Mr. Preston has been the custodian for many people in our community who attended school as well as their children who are now attending,” said PTA President Jeanette Leonard. “Everyone loves Mr. Preston; he is always present with a smile and will always remember the students’ names.”
“We have been blessed with a seamstress and costume designer on our PTA board – Hillary Van Name,” Leonard said. “She came up with the idea of a mascot a few months ago to hopefully bring some cheer to the students during this time of so many changes.”
When the PTA became aware that Preston was being placed at another school, the members decided to honor him by naming the new mascot “Preston.”
On the morning of October 27, a group of PTA members and their children, bus drivers, Mount Pleasant Principal Dana Stevens, and staff surprised Preston with an introduction to his namesake “Preston.”
“We represent just a small part of all those who are going to miss you,” Leonard said to Preston. “We are sad to see you go – all the generations who know and love you and appreciate you.
“Now there will always be a Preston in the building from here on out,” said Leonard.
“On behalf of the staff at Mount Pleasant, I’d like to thank Mr. Preston for his many years of service and dedication to our school,” said Stevens. “During the many years Gibson spent here, he truly cared about our kids, and worked to develop personal relationships within the community. We wish him the best of luck in his new school.”
Preston, the Little Terrier, will be limited in public appearances during the COVID-19 restrictions, but there are plans for him to participate in a planned drive-by Christmas parade sponsored by the school and PTA, drive-by birthday parties, and other small occasions as a “pick-me-up” for students and the community.
(The Little Terrier costume was designed by Hillary’s Custom Costumes, firstname.lastname@example.org.)