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At Hanover High, a new school mascot shows its teeth

Kate McCaull, Sora Shirai, Pierce Seigne and Zane Schiffman preside over a discussion about the winning mascot logo design, during a Hanover High School council meeting
Alex Driehaus
Valley News / Report For America
Student council officers presided over a discussion about the winning mascot logo design at a recent Hanover High School council meeting.

Two months after Hanover High School unveiled the Bears as its new mascot, the school has a new logo to go along with it.

Once the name change was announced in early March, the New Mascot Selection and Implementation Committee solicited designs for the corresponding logo from students, staff, alumni and community members.

All designs were reviewed for quality and originality by Douglas Harp, a local graphic designer, as well as a copyright lawyer — an important step after the logo that would have won the initial election in the fall was deemed to be unoriginal.

“The community has stood by us with this transition,” said sophomore Kavi Patel, who co-chairs the mascot committee along with fellow sophomore Josh Stearns. “It’s truly remarkable to see the creativity of my peers and some of the members of our community.

“The one thing that has changed is moral support. People are more (vocal) about their support of the process and their trust in us, which was amazing to hear.”

(Read earlier coverage from the Valley News: Students vote to remove Marauders name)

The mascot committee was tasked with narrowing the designs down to 10 after 18 submissions cleared the review process. All 18 designs were put on display in a classroom, and students had five votes to allocate among the submissions. They could give all five votes to one logo or one vote to five different designs, after which point the committee moved the top 10 submissions onto the final election.

Current students, staff and coaches were eligible to vote in the ranked-choice election, which was open from April 26 through May 5. Turnout was at 61%, with the winning design receiving a plurality of first-place votes — 45.5% — in the first round. The design was unanimously approved at Wednesday’s school council meeting.

“I’m honestly very impressed that we were so close to our original timeline,” said Jason Hirschhorn, the mascot committee’s faculty adviser. “It was very aggressive so that we could get this done before the end of the year while still making time for every part of the process.”

Ani Menkov, a 2021 Hanover graduate who is now a freshman at the Rhode Island School of Design, created the winning logo — a furry, growling bear with a white field and maroon trim. Notably, the bear’s teeth are shaped like the outlines of Vermont and New Hampshire, symbolizing Hanover’s status as the first interstate public high school in the United States.

Menkov was an advocate for the mascot change while at Hanover, and she will collaborate with Kara Waters, an art teacher at the school who will adapt the design into a more polished logo over the next few weeks.

“If that thing goes into the turf, which it sounds like it will, that’s going to be weird because I have not made a piece of art that big. I’ve not had a piece of art be replicated that big,” Menkov said. “The original mascot lasted a very long time, and that’s also surreal to me, that I would make something that might last that long.”

After the new logo is finalized, the next step will be to mass produce it for new sports uniforms and other school gear. The logo will appear on the turf field and gym floor within the next few years, once those facilities next receive their regularly scheduled maintenance. Hanover will continue to use the block “H” as a secondary logo, although Menkov chose not to include the letter in her design because students from other towns, most notably Norwich, also attend the school.

Waters is also a Hanover alumna and has taught a digital art class for the last eight years. She is being paid separately to help create the final logo.

“I’m mostly excited about it because it was designed by a former student,” Waters said. “When they were calling for designs, I stepped back. I really wanted this to be more of the student voice, and then I felt like I could approach it and take over to get it more ready.

“It’s been a student-initiated change and a grassroots effort, so it just seems natural that the design would come from an alum and the finalization would be done in-house.”

It has now been nearly 14 months since the council first voted to remove the Marauder mascot and the logo featuring a pirate biting a sword, which had both been in use since 1951. The committee was forced to take a step back in its process after November’s setback, but the transition is now nearly complete.

“What I’m most proud about is my growth throughout this process and facing backlash initially, but really pushing through it all and being true to myself and what I stand for,” Patel said. “If I’m true to myself, then my message will get across, and I think it did with so many community members who initially were hesitant about the change now fully embracing it. I’ve learned to stand my ground and fight for something I truly believe in.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visitcollaborativenh.org.

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