Public input needed for new mascot

The old Elkhart High School building still stands on Franklin Street. The high school was split into Elkhart Central and Elkhart Memorial in 1972. The high schools will operate as one beginning in the fall of 2020 and officially merge into the existing Memorial campus in 2021.

ELKHART — As Elkhart Community Schools prepares to merge its two high schools into one, the district is seeking the public’s input on a new mascot.

Next school year, Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central will become Elkhart High School. The new unified high school mascot is the lion, but school officials said help is needed to determine the look for the lion.

To that end, an online survey was created giving the public an opportunity to help determine a direction for the mascot.

The survey is being overseen by a small mascot committee comprised of staff, administrators and board members with the assistance of Elkhart-based Vala Marketing.

The committee is tasked with taking the approved mascot and bringing it to life in a way that represents students, staff and the community, said Brenda Kolbe, director of communications for the district and a committee member.

“Through our survey, we want to ensure we capture the opinions of as many students, staff, alumni and community members as possible by asking meaningful questions to define the characteristics of our mascot,” Kolbe said.

Another committee member, Brian Buckley, the athletic director at Central, said the survey will play an integral part in differentiating the mascot’s identity from hundreds of other schools that also have a lion mascot.

“The community can take on a lot of different terms – our school community, athletic community, county community and so forth,” he said. “So we’re looking for something that can work as a bond to help glue all of those pieces together, and the survey will help guide us on what the community wants.”

Responses to the survey are anonymous. The survey opened this week and will close on Sept. 6

Once the survey closes, Kolbe said Vala will aggregate the data and pull insights from the information gathered.

“From there, we will work together to start conceptualizing, visiting and auditing our spaces, shadowing some staff to understand how staff and students view and use the current mascots, do an interactive workshop with interested art students and teachers, and ultimately use all this information and data to create concepts,” Kolbe said.

The school board will then decide the best avenue for collecting school community and public perceptions on the concept to arrive at a final decision, Kolbe said. 

“We believe the amount of research done prior to design will help ensure we create a mascot that helps unify our schools and community by incorporating everyone’s insight, experiences and opinions,” Kolbe said.

Anyone can participate in the survey at


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