Mascot Vote Compromised by Unoriginal Designs
In March, the New Mascot Selection and Implementation Committee was formed. Co-chaired by Kavi Patel (‘24), Josh Stearns (‘24), and Mr. Hirschhorn, the committee worked to create a mascot selection process that was fair and included the entire school community to the best of its ability.
Voting for the new mascot opened on Friday, October 22, with an Advisory Circle dedicated to walking through the election process. Voting entailed choosing a design for the mascot that corresponded to one of five names which had been voted on earlier in the year. The artwork for the designs had been submitted by HHS community members and had been approved by the Mascot Committee. Students, staff, and community members used the website OpaVote to cast their ballots, which allowed for rank-choice voting. A week later, on October 29, the voting was officially closed. If all went as planned, the new mascot would have been announced during the Council meeting on Wednesday, November 3.
Unfortunately, all did not go to plan. The day voting opened, the committee leaders were approached by students who were concerned that some of the submitted designs were unoriginal. On Thursday, October 28, the committee began to address these concerns by reaching out to those who submitted a design and asking them to share their creative process as well as any photos they used for reference. From there, it was determined that some of the proposed mascot designs were unoriginal. This issue arose despite research the Mascot Committee leaders had done during the design approval process, which included a reverse search on each image to ensure that they were entirely the artist’s own creation. The day after voting closed, the committee leaders learned that the top two most-voted-for designs were unoriginal, and therefore would have to be eliminated.
Now there will be a runoff election between the third and fourth most-voted for designs, which both qualified as original designs, to determine the new mascot. The necessity of a runoff election (as opposed to simply going with the third most-voted for design) stems from the small margin of votes between the third and fourth place designs.
Despite this stumble in the mascot voting process, it is also extremely important to recognize that there was a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work done by the New Mascot Selection and Implementation Committee. Since its formation, the committee has broken down the creation of a new mascot into three phases, and has frequently posted updates to the mascot selection process to Schoology, various local listservs, the HHS alumni Facebook group, and to its own Instagram page @hhsmascot. When asked about the intended impact of changing the mascot, the leaders of the Mascot Committee responded in a written statement: “The changing of the mascot is just one of many things that can be done to make the school a safer and more welcoming place to all…. A school mascot is intended to represent everyone, and we hope that the new mascot will further promote the idea of inclusivity in HHS and the community.”