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A school's colors and mascot can say a lot - like whether you're a knight or a whale
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North Georgia Christian Academy students, front row from left, Amanda Ayers and Piper Densmore, and back row from left, Tyler Harney, Caleb Purcell, Ashley Goodson, John Cox and Matt Cox display their school's new colors, blue, white and silver. - photo by Tom Reed

Whether your school's mascot was derived from ancient warfare or plucked from the zoo, chances are you love it or you loathe it.

Some folks back the North Hall High School Trojans or the West Hall High School Spartans. Others "stride with pride" as the McEver Elementary Mustangs or shout "Go Big Blue!" on fall Friday nights for the Johnson High School Knights.

Piper Densmore, 16, is a junior at North Georgia Christian School. Last year when school leaders gave students the opportunity to select a new mascot and school colors, she said the maroon and gold wildcat had to go.

"They're living room colors, not school colors," Densmore said of the school's color combo.

After years of operating as Westminster Christian School, the school changed its name to North Georgia Christian School and decided to give the whole school's image a makeover.

In May, the North Georgia Christian School board allowed the private school students to choose from five different school colors and school mascots, all of which were connected to a Bible verse.

Overwhelmingly, students selected a white charger horse as their mascot and blue, silver and white as their colors.

"It's very cool. I'm glad it was chosen," Densmore said. "I think the blue and silver are fresher, more exciting colors."

As North Georgia Christian School moved into this millennium with a new mascot and accompanying colors, one local school's mascot has been celebrated for generations - the Gainesville Red Elephants.

Caitlyn Ludwig, 18, is a senior at Gainesville High School and has been a red elephant for about as long as she can remember. She said the trumpeting mascot is part of the school system's history.

"If we changed it, we'd really lose a lot of tradition in Gainesville," she said. "I love it. It's probably the most unique mascot in the state of Georgia that I know of. And red is easy to match."

Ashlee Colbert, 14, is a freshman at Gainesville High School and said she's glad to celebrate a giant red mammal as her school mascot.

"It's so neat and different," she said. "There's schools with tigers as their mascot, but hardly ever an elephant, especially a red elephant."

While the Gainesville Red Elephant likely wins the test of time award, several Hall County school mascots push the envelope.

There's the purple and gold panther mascot at White Sulphur Elementary School that looks a little like a certain panther who pals around with Inspector Jacques Clouseau.

White Sulphur Elementary School Principal Don Watson said the purple panther has represented the school for at least 18 years now.

"It's really a neat little mascot," Watson said. "It's cute looking and the kids really like it."

And then there's a white sailor whale that represents Lyman Hall Elementary School. Sure it's adorable, but what is it exactly?

On a more patriotic note, West Hall Middle School holds up its school mascot, a patriot waving an American flag, as a model for molding student character.

West Hall Middle School Principal Sarah Justus said the mascot inspired not only the school's colors - red, white and blue - but also the school motto, "Respect, responsibility and service to others."

In addition, the patriot fostered the school's Patriot Pride campaign that recognizes the student "patriot of the week." The school also boasts Patriot Park, an on-campus garden filled with stones acknowledging the men and women related to faculty, staff and students who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Tyler Reynolds, 12, a seventh-grader at West Hall Middle, said he's proud to be a Patriot. He said he likes how his school mascot isn't "an animal or something" but a person.

"He's different from all the other mascots," he said. "He always keeps us up when we're down. And he tells us never to give up."

 

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