Mascot announced for renamed Staunton High School

Published: Feb. 28, 2019 at 10:15 AM EST
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The Staunton School Board has announced the mascot that will accompany a re-branded and renovated Staunton High School.

When the school currently named Robert E. Lee High School officially becomes Staunton High School on July 1, 2019, their mascot will switch from the Fighting Leemen to the "Staunton Storm."

The mascot appears as a warrior carrying a lightning bolt and a shield emblazoned with an “S.

School colors, which are currently royal blue, white and silver, will be nearly the same, with a slight change from royal blue to navy blue.

According to a press release from the school board, the inspiration for the nickname and mascot came from a quote popularized by New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady: “Fate whispers to the warrior, ‘you cannot withstand the storm.’ The warrior whispers back, ‘I am the storm.’”

“This reflects the strength we have in the diversity of individuals at Staunton High School and our unified spirit,” said Principal Nate Collins. “The warrior’s shield acknowledges our role as protectors and our responsibility to each other. The lightning bolt is indicative of our power and our desire to always “lead the charge,” a motto we often reference at the high school. And finally, the classic Greek styling of the warrior is a nod to history and a reflection of our city, known for its classic architecture, including many in the Greek Revival style.”

Three months ago, a 23-member committee of students, teacher, and staff was put together to develop mascot concepts based on a survey open to all middle and high school students, as well as high school faculty and staff.

They ended up with two possibilities: the Staunton Storm or the Staunton Chargers. Both designs were developed with help from Jostens, who provided design services at not cost to the school.

Ultimately, they found that no other Virginia high school has the nickname "Storm," and they felt it important to choose a unique name and mascot.

“I’d like to thank our student and staff committee members for their thoughtful work throughout the selection process,” Collins said. “We took our task very seriously and worked hard to select and design a nickname and mascot that represent our school and community well and that reflects the distinctiveness or our school and the confidence, strength, and diversity of our students.”

The Staunton School Board had no say in the decision.

The board

to rename Robert E. Lee High School to Staunton High School in November 2018.

The school had previously been changed from Staunton High School to be named in honor of the most well-known Confederate general in 1914.

Well before the Staunton School Board ever considered bringing a proposal to rename the city's only high school to a vote, they were planning an overhaul for the aging school, which changed from building a new school to undertaking major renovations. Those are expected to

with a budget of $40 million.

According to the board, the budget for renovations is

many of the associated costs with the name change, especially as far as signage and costs connected to the building itself.

The name-change discussion had been floated at several points over the years, but gained increasing traction after the deadly violence of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville in 2017, which was originally organized around that city's Robert E. Lee statue after a city vote to remove it.

It also followed other Virginia schools moving to rebrand themselves, such as Richmond Public Schools

J.E.B. Stuart Elementary to Barack Obama Elementary School. The school boards in Falls Church and Petersburg also are renaming several Confederate-named schools.

With the Storm mascot, the board says "a storm combines the elements of lightning, thunder, water, and wind, which is symbolic of the power of many coming together as one force in the new nickname. The storm warrior mascot represents strength, determination, and leadership."

The renovated school will hold about 125 more students than the current school and will include a new bus loop, auxiliary gym, more space in classrooms and more technology in the classrooms.