Laughingly and with some surprise, my wife Linda and I read Jason Ruff’s editorial in last weeks paper ("The true story of a proud little city and its high school mascot," Teton Valley News, May 30, 2019). Why? Because I was a proud Pekin Chink and I think I may be the only living one in Teton Valley, Idaho.

As a third generation Pekin-nite, I was raised in an environment where I was proud of my hometown, proud of our athletic prowess in the State of Illinois winning two state basketball championships in my teens, proud of the fact that the Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen lived down the block, and just proud of being from Pekin.

As time moved on, Richard Nixon went to China in 1972 to open relations between our two nations and in so doing, this shed light on the word chink — our athletic mascot name.

Over the years, debate ensued over whether to change our name from chink to another. We changed it to dragon and are now known as the Pekin Dragons. As dragons, our focus is still on educational excellence and graduating students to move ahead in life with the best skills they can develop.

I know that this debate is present in Teton Valley, and I just want to say that as dragons, we have all moved ahead in life. Should the community change or keep its mascot’s name, I know that the great teachers who are totally dedicated to their students, will continue doing their work in this great school district.

John Unland,



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