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ASD forms committee to pick new colors, mascot, fight song

| Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Finally, some of the fun stuff.

After more than a year of contentious debate about the very existence of a new high school for Armstrong School District, a committee will begin the process of choosing the name, official colors, mascot, alma mater and fight song for the future school in Manor Township.

“When we returned from the holiday break, it was requested by the architects that we begin this process in an efficient manner to help with the process of painting,” said West Shamokin High School principal Kirk Lorigan during the school board's monthly meeting on Monday night.

Lorigan, Kittanning High School principal Jim Rummel and Ford City High School principal Mike Cominos will chair the committee dedicated to making those decisions with student school board representatives, secondary level student council presidents, the district's two athletic directors and six community members who meet the criteria of being a parent, teacher and local resident.

Although that process is just beginning, Rummel said, long-term planning and possible future changes to the district must be factored into each decision.

“The philosophy of the new ASD junior-senior high school should reflect a progressive and new vision for the school district,” he said.

“Although initial population of the school will be primarily students from the Ford City and Kittanning attendance areas, the building has design elements that allow it to be expanded in the future to integrate students from other attendance areas. Because of the long-range view, it would be appropriate to consider colors that have not been part of any existing or recently closed buildings in Armstrong School District.”

Rummel said that means the new school's color scheme definitely won't be red and white (like Kittanning High School), purple and gold (Ford City), black and silver (West Shamokin) or green and white (Elderton).

Cominos said the committee will put together choices of color palettes drawn mostly from existing professional and college sports teams, then students in grades 7 through 12 will narrow down the selections to two via an electronic survey.

“We're looking for a natural breaking point to take to the committee in order to whittle this list down,” said Cominos.

“The committee will make the final color selection and bring it to the school board for final approval.”

Superintendent Stan Chapp said the colors must be decided by early February in order to keep construction on schedule. After that, the time frame is slightly less pressing. The student body will then brainstorm ideas for a mascot or nickname which, like the school colors, won't be coming from any current or previous ASD school.

“We want this school to have its own identity and not be attached to any of the history or cause ill feelings within the community,” said Cominos.

“We want the students to have pride in what's about to happen to them (when the school opens) in 2015.”

Once a mascot is selected, it will be up to students to create a logo.

“We're going to leave it up to the students and our art department to come up with the design,” said Cominos.

“We'll have our design team clean it up and make something that will look really good on our football field or basketball court.”

Rummel said the school's fight song will be based on the district's current selection of “On, Wisconsin!” with lyrics developed by music teachers and input from students. But the alma mater will be a work in progress for students and music teachers to complete during the school's inaugural 2015-16 school year.

“We'll actually have students in the school working on it at that time,” he said.

All that's left is to name the school, and Lorigan already supplied the board with the committee's recommendation.

“It's been suggested after several conversations administratively that the building name be Armstrong Junior-Senior High School,” said Lorigan.

“It's the name of the county and the name of our district. This provides for expansion in student population and also incorporates the various regions.”

And Lorigan said there's another benefit to the name.

“There's hope that the building provides for economic growth through the use of the county name,” he said.

“Obviously, it's a suggested name and comes to the board for final approval, but we believe Armstrong Junior-Senior High School has a strong meaning as we move forward.”

Tim Karan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303 or tkaran@tribweb.com.

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