Hanover High School has a new mascot, and it’s a bear

  • Hanover High School Interim Principal Julie Stevenson, second from right, announces the school's new mascot name, Bears, at a meeting of the school council with social studies teacher Bill Murphy, left, and moderator Pierce Seigne, right, in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. Lily Versteeg, the council's public relations officer, is in the background. The image for the new mascot will be announced at a later date. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Hanover junior Jack Gardner listens to discussion of another issue at a meeting of the Hanover High School Council after the unveiling of the school's new mascot name, Bears, in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. In March 2021 the council voted to retire the Marauder, and the school's sports teams have competed without a mascot since. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. James M. Patterson

  • Patrick Elder, leader of the historic records committee of the Hanover High School Council, announces that Bears was chosen as the school's new mascot over the public address system in Hanover, N.H., on Wednesday, March 2, 2022. A debate over changing the mascot began in 2020, and the decision on a new name and image was delayed last November after some of the images submitted for voting were found not to be the original work the students that submitted them. The new mascot image will be announced at a later date. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/2/2022 9:50:12 PM
Modified: 3/3/2022 9:33:26 PM

HANOVER — Nearly a year after the Marauders went out, the Bears are officially in.

Bears was officially revealed as Hanover High School’s new mascot at Wednesday’s school council meeting, marking an important step in a revamped process to give the school a new mascot and logo.

After the winning name was announced, the council members and other meeting attendees overwhelmingly approved the change.

“Throughout this process, community members and our peers have been very supportive,” said sophomore Kavi Patel, who co-chairs the mascot committee along with fellow sophomore Josh Stearns. “This mascot is now something the community can come together around and fully embrace.”

The New Mascot Selection and Implementation Committee had initially planned to unveil the new nickname and design in November, but the winning logo was found to have violated the submission criterion of originality. So the committee went back to the five finalists — Bears, Hawks, Huskies, Maroon Crush and Trailblazers — which were announced to the community last June.

This time, they decided to run the election for the mascot name, and then vote on a logo separately.

“We had a lot of people showing up to our meetings, a lot of people sharing their thoughts,” said Jason Hirschhorn, the mascot committee’s faculty adviser. “We tried to come up with a process that would hear what everybody had to say and allow us to methodically work through everyone’s ideas.”

The council passed the resolution for the new elections on Feb. 2, with voting taking place from Feb. 8-24. Voting was open to current students and staff, as well as athletic coaches, who had not been eligible to vote in the fall. Also unlike in the previous election, all voters were required to rank all five finalists for a ranked-choice system. Of the 909 eligible voters, 711 sent in ballots, all of which were valid.

Bears received a plurality of first-place votes at 36.6%, and Maroon Crush, in last place at 7.3%, was eliminated in the first round. The votes for Maroon Crush were reallocated to the second-choice vote on each of those ballots for the second round, at which point Trailblazers was eliminated.

The committee repeated the process two more times until Bears crossed the 50% threshold, receiving 56.3% of the vote in the final round. Huskies finished in second place, with Hawks in third.

“It stinks when you have to prolong things, but it’s always more important to do things right rather than do them quickly,” said senior Pierce Seigne, the council moderator. “Now we’re going to get a name everyone’s happy with and a logo everyone’s happy with.”

The mascot change will take effect immediately, and now the design competition will begin. The committee will finalize the design submission form at a meeting on Thursday and will begin accepting submissions on Monday and through March 29.

Once the submissions are in, they will be vetted for originality and quality. Douglas Harp, a graphic designer in Hanover, will help judge the potential logos, which will also be checked by a copyright lawyer to ensure there is no plagiarism.

“Everybody could have been discouraged, upset or frustrated, but it was the opposite,” Hirschhorn said, referring to November’s setback. “Everybody was really supportive and invested and patient, and that led to a really good feeling in the room today. People were excited and proud and confident in the process and eager to move to the next stage.”

The committee will choose the top 10 designs to advance to the final election, which will be run the same way as the mascot election. Voting is scheduled to open April 19 and close April 28, with the winning logo revealed at the council meeting on May 4.

Seigne said the school is due to replace the gym floor this year, so the new basketball and volleyball court would include the winning design. The Marauder logo in the middle of the turf field, home to Hanover’s football, soccer, field hockey and lacrosse teams, might take longer to replace.

The Hanover boys and girls hockey teams, which both have playoff games this weekend, will be the first to officially compete as the Bears.

“This is a real pivotal moment in our school’s history,” Stearns said. “We want to change the culture of Hanover. Even though I wasn’t there before these discussions got off the ground, I’ve heard a lot about how people just felt unsafe. For a long time, people have expressed desires to change things, but it hasn’t gotten off the ground, and this is finally the opportunity for us to do that.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.

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