WESTON --It's out with the Panthers, in with the TigerScots at Weston Middle School.Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8317. Check out her blog at blogs.ublabs.org/schoolhousemissives.
The Athena-Weston School Board unanimously agreed during its regular meeting Monday night to replace the school's mascot and colors to coordinate with those of Weston McEwen High School.
The push to replace the Panthers with the TigerScots began last year, when two Weston Middle School eighth-graders who were unhappy with the state of school spirit and their school's mascot decided to do something about it.
Riley Faircloth and Holly Hill both felt adopting the high school's mascot and school colors would be a positive change for the middle school, and likely generate more school spirit.
So Faircloth and Hill began circulating a school petition, and putting up posters and fliers at the school.
The proposed switch called for replacing the school's purple, black and gold colors with red, black and white to reflect Weston-McEwen's colors. Perhaps the biggest change would be switching out the middle school's Panthers with the TigerScots.
Faircloth and Hill then took their arguments to the School Board, where they presented a PowerPoint presentation supporting their case.
"This was a student-initiated process that started last school year," said Superintendent Jerry Copeland, who also pointed out potential benefits and ultimate savings to the district and students through the switch.
"One big advantage to having one mascot and one set of school colors is that we can pass high school uniforms and equipment on down to the middle school," he said in an e-mail. "Also, students buying school-type clothes can continue to wear them at the high school."
The "TigerScots" mascot was born after the merging of Athena and Weston high schools in the 1970s, Copeland said. Rather than choose between Athena's Scottish Terriers, or Weston's Tigers back then, the schools created the TigerScots, which represents both mascots individually.
It's a tiger, and a little Scottish Terrier," Copeland said.
Copeland said the board heard the student's pleas, but also wanted a chance to survey parents and the greater community. An online survey conducted in the fall showed a vast majority of people also supported the change.
The official switch will take effect with the start of the 2010-11 school year.