EDMOND — The senior surprise for Conner Robinson at the end of Edmond North High School’s pep assembly Tuesday may have been one of the worst-kept secrets in Edmond.
“They said basically everyone in the school knew about it,” Robinson said. “They grabbed me as we were leaving and said we couldn’t go yet, there was a senior surprise. My friend said, ‘It’s a surprise just for you,’ but he was grinning and I just thought he was kidding.”
Fortunately, Robinson may have been the one person who didn’t know about the surprise: A Siberian Husky puppy given to him to help him deal with the death of Bolle, his 14-month-old Husky. Bolle, who died after being hit by a car several weeks ago, was named for Rick Bollenbach, North’s wrestling coach.
“I had no idea. It was a complete surprise,” Robinson said. “Then I saw that box moving, and I figured out it was a dog.”
Surrounded by classmates, his parents Chuck and Vicky, and school staff after being given the yet-unnamed puppy, Robinson had to pause to wipe tears from his eyes while talking about what the gift meant to him.
“It was a rough time getting over Bolle, so it brought back a lot of memories,” he said.
“A lot of good memories.”
For the past year, Bolle had served as North’s mascot, attending athletic events with Robinson, including the wrestling duals that Robinson competed in.
The idea of getting Robinson a new Husky came from North’s pom and cheer squad. Emily Cole, a senior and member of the squad who came up with the idea with her friend Carrie Bugg, presented the Husky to Robinson at the assembly.
“I started crying,” she said. “I know a lot of girls started crying. We’re just happy to do something for Conner because he has seriously done so much for us.”
Cole and her mother drove to Wichita, Kan., to buy the Husky with money that had been donated by the students last Wednesday.
From then until Tuesday, the dog, which received the temporary name of Puppy, was kept away from where Robinson might see him.
“I think everyone in town knew but Conner,” said Chuck Robinson.
“The dog got passed around all the cheer and pom girls so no one got too attached to him.”
While Robinson’s new Husky may not have a name yet, he already has a job: He will replace Bolle as North’s new mascot.
His first event most likely will be the wrestling dual Thursday night against Memorial, where Robinson said he expects to face a tough match.
“He’ll probably be there,” he said. “My parents will bring him.”
(Justin Martino may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.)