Call it a class picture. Call it a tribute. Whatever you call it, it’s pretty funny.

The 56 seniors who graduated in Mount Michael High School’s Class of 2016 exited their high school years in style: the style of


What started years ago as an online joke while Bo Pelini was at the helm of the Husker football team has become a small but humorous part of Nebraska sports history.

Maybe you’ve seen the doctored image: the coach wearing a festive sweater and holding a fluffy cat. @FauxPelini — or Fake Bo Pelini — sports it as his Twitter profile picture.

For their portraits this year, each of Mount Michael’s seniors wore a red plaid blazer while holding an unhappy-looking tabby cat.

David Peters, the head of Mount Michael, said the photo was the students’ idea based on a tradition. Every year, the seniors are allowed to pick out an “outrageous” coat for their photos, one that they will all wear.

“These guys wanted to one up what had been done in the past,” Peters said.

Jacob Bova, 18, of Papillion was part of the Class of 2016 and suggested the Faux Pelini theme for the pictures. He even volunteered his cat, Friskey.

“You have to make the photo cheesy, and one night after prayer, our dean asked us if we had any ideas,” Bova said. “I said, ‘Why don’t we do a Faux Pelini-type thing and use my cat?’ And everyone jumped on. Another kid said he had the glasses, and another kid said let’s wear turtlenecks instead of button shirts.”

Bova, who is now a freshman studying chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said Friskey wasn’t an overly willing participant. On the day of the pictures, the cat got away from his father and ran under the school’s bleachers.

“My dean, my dad and all of the students were trying to get her out,” he said.

Eventually, the feline was coaxed out for her close-ups. Friskey may have looked grumpy, but she did OK in front of the camera.

“She gave me the stink-eye for weeks after that,” Bova said.

Peters said a cat-less, glasses-less version of the class photo hangs in the school’s hallway with the pictures of past graduates.

But the Faux Pelini-inspired photos live on through prints that were given to parents and in the school’s 2016 yearbook. Faux Pelini has even retweeted a picture of the Mount Michael yearbook spread.

“The boys loved it. Their parents loved it. They thought it was outrageous; we thought it was in good taste,” Peters said. “It was pretty funny.”, 402-444-1382,

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