Students also pick school colors: forest green and creek blue

by: JORDY BYRD - Students drew animals such as the owl, above, wolf, fox, bear and deer, at right, which were suggested as mascots.Students at West Linn’s newest primary school, Trillium Creek, have selected the owl as their school mascot and forest green and creek blue as their school colors.

School administrators and Principal Charlotte Morris spent about six weeks working with students to develop nomination and selection criteria. Ultimately, the decision was put to a vote within the school — teachers, instructional aides and administrators included — and the winner was announced Nov. 6.

“The goal was how do we come together with students coming from six different schools and create our own identity within a community?” Morris said. “It was a big conversation and I could tell our fourth- and fifth-graders wanted to be a big part of it.”

Morris worked with the fourth- and fifth-grade classrooms to develop selection criteria, which were then presented to students, staff and families. Morris said the nominations must remind students of the Trillium Creek school site and represent the characteristics of the school.

In the end, 106 students suggested 20 different mascots. Suggestions included an eagle, snake, hornet, kingfisher, bulldog, trout, bluejay, chipmunk, platypus, red-tailed hawk, wolf, fox, tree frog, gray crowned crane, bear, deer and the owl. A total of 28 different color combinations were submitted, with the majority being variations of blue and green.

Students had the opportunity to work together with their classmates or families to write a persuasive essay describing their recommendation and why it would be appropriate for the school. The essays were then presented to the fifth-graders, who narrowed down the final candidates mid-October to a deer, owl and tree frog.

Next, the group of 64 fifth-graders split into three teams, which each created a campaign poster, a persuasive essay — and a few pictures — that were presented to the entire student body and brought to a vote. When the winner was announced, Morris said, cheers were heard down the hallways.

According to the final write-up, students chose the color forest green because:

“Green is eco-friendly and we have a beautiful green forest and meadow that we play in each day. Forest green is the color of nature. It is symbolic for learning, thinking and developing a positive growth mindset. Blue stands for the Trillium Creek headwaters that are on our school property. Blue also represents fresh ideas, movement, thought and the calming sky and environment.”

Students selected the owl because:

“Owls are keen, knowledgeable creatures. Like the students at Trillium, the owl is a peaceful creature. ... They keep their ecosystem healthy, and we are learning to be stewards of our environment, too. ... Swift and wise, owls glide through the forest near Trillium Creek, where students in classrooms soar through their learning.”

The school mascot and color election also facilitated a larger discussion about elections in the United States.

“We wanted to give kids the similar experience of voting on something that will affect them and their lives,” Morris said. “We spoke to students about how important voting is and how every vote counts.

“We taught students that being able to vote is unique to our country and that you may have different opinions, yet come together and support the decision that was made. That’s how we learn to become citizens.”

The school will work with the parent-teacher group to develop an official logo, which will be used on school merchandise like hats, T-shirts and sweatshirts.

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