How the Hawks were bornNot every school gets to choose its own mascot, and probably very few use a form of consensus to do it, but that's exactly what GSFS did between 2007 and 2009. That's right, the process took two full years and it was pretty extraordinary.
Before GSFS became the Hawks, there was no school mascot. Middle school students in particular, playing on teams against other schools, felt the absence of a mascot like a hole in the heart. TORCH, the middle school student government group, took the search for a mascot under its wing.
TORCH collected mascot ideas and drawings from the entire GSFS community. Many of our 2014-2015 middle school students were in Pre-K or Kindergarten when this took place, and they contributed very creative ideas. Among the hundred-plus initial suggestions were the Iguanas, the Consensus, the Red Pandas, the Mighty Maroon Meerkats, the Heroes, and A Bowl of Oatmeal.
The mascot committee and TORCH talked about every one of the ideas, matching them to a set of criteria established by the students. The mascot should: 1) represent the values of the school, 2) show the personality of the school, 3) be original, 4) be catchy, 5) be good for all ages and 6) make a good visual.
After much Quaker process, the student committee settled on a few mascot ideas that best fit those criteria. They brought these four back the the whole community: 1) The Gators, 2) The Grizzlies, 3) The Storm, and 4) The Red-Tailed Hawks. The community weighed in through written slips and emails, sharing their preferences and reasons, and the committee set about reading them all and working towards a decision.
The process was peaceful but grueling. The committee met dozens of times. There was close consideration of all input, and there was also a very interesting development. While the middle school students on the mascot committee leaned towards Gators and Grizzlies for their fierceness and strength, lower school students and adults were strongly in favor of Red-Tailed Hawks for their symbolism and local presence.
This was an interesting impasse. The middle school decision-makers had high stakes in the outcome. They were the ones making up the teams for which the mascot would become a cheer and even a chant. Somehow they couldn't hear "Go Red-Tailed Hawks" helping them to carry the day. A suggestion came - could we work with "Hawks?" and the decision, so long in the works, was finally made. And that is how the hawks were born.
Next came the search for an image to represent the hawks. Once again, TORCH called on the whole community to submit drawings. In art classes, Marie led students in envisioning and rendering the hawk in full color. Over the course of 2009 - 2010, the whole middle school worked together the select the final image of the hawk, which now perches proudly on uniforms, T-shirts, water bottles and the website.
Frequently, we see our local red-tailed hawk circling high above the campus, and even swooping through to say hello. You can see our other GSFS hawks on the field, court, and track -- dribbling, sprinting and playing their hearts out.
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