COLUMBIA — Panthers. Pirates. Spartans. Snails. Wait ... snails?
These are possible mascots for the new high school being built in northeast Columbia. The decision will be made with the help of sixth-graders, who will be in the first freshman class to attend or compete against the high school when it opens in August 2013.
Kobe Pipes, 11, Smithton Middle School
Mascot choice: Knights
“I almost chose the Rams, and blue and gold, but that would have kinda been copyright, because of the football team.”
Sophia Romero-Compain, 11, Smithton Middle School
Mascot choices: Mustangs or Pirates
“I would be fine with anything, really.”
Mick Deaver, 11, Gentry Middle School
Mascot choice: Knights
“The knights in the old days helped save people, like police I guess, and that’s pretty cool. They also fought in battles.”
Sam Creasy, 11, Smithton Middle School
Mascot choice: Spartans
“(I chose) black and gold, just like Mizzou.”
Maggie Seals, 12, Smithton Middle School
“Put me down as blue and gold and cougars.”
“I was surprised," said Avery Schroeder, 11, who attends Gentry Middle School. "I didn’t think the kids would have a say in it.”
The students gave their input through a survey that listed the nation’s top mascots, excluding those that already exist locally: the Tigers at MU and the Bruins at Rock Bridge High School, meaning all other bear synonyms are also out.
“I thought it was kind of cool that I could help, because I really want to go to that school,” said Garrie Morris, 11, also a Gentry student.
Morris hopes the Spartans will be the winning mascot.
“It’s just kind of a historic name," he said. "It describes a good fighting spirit."
The survey also listed options for school colors, with gold included in each color pairing. This will coordinate with Hickman High School’s purple and gold and Rock Bridge’s green and gold.
“One slogan we have is ‘Share the gold,’” said Wanda Brown, assistant superintendent for secondary education.
Brown is collecting the surveys by Sept. 24. She will give the results to the high school naming committee, which will review the proposals and pass them to the Columbia School Board.
Alli Freyer and Jordan Robinson, 11, attend Lange Middle School. They said most of the boys they know hope to be the red and gold Cardinals, while many girls want to be the pink and gold Panthers.
“The gold could be for the boys, and the pink could be for the girls,” Jordan said.
Along with the listed options, the survey had a space for students to write in their own ideas. Jordan said she heard a few students saying they wanted to be the snails.
“I was like, ‘Why do you want a snail? It’s so slow,’” she said.
Jordan and Alli said that although they chose the Panthers because it was "the most girlie" mascot on the list, they hope the School Board picks one that will be fair to both girls and boys. Alli said she would be fine with any mascot but hopes she doesn’t have to be a Viking.
“It just reminds me of old guys with long beards,” she said.
“And swords and tall hats,” Jordan added.
At Smithton Middle School, Brady Wirth, 11, said the boys are voting for fierce mascots, like the Wolverines.
“That’s more what we like than cats and bunny rabbits and stuff,” Brady said.
Community members will help name the school. The School Board invited people to submit name ideas or join the naming committee.
“A name stays with a school forever, so you want to make sure you pick a name that has integrity,” Brown said.
The naming committee is comprised of 19 volunteers from the community. Individual committee members are not allowed to advocate for a certain name or submit ideas. The committee was scheduled to have its first meeting on Monday evening and will meet again Oct. 4.
Brown said the committee will review the name, mascot and color proposals and pass them to the School Board, which will make the final decision in mid-October.
The two newest schools, Lewis and Paxton Keeley elementary schools, were both named after people. A high school has not been named since Rock Bridge was named 38 years ago.