Montrose High School soars into new chapter as Red Hawks


Official flyer for mascot design contest

Kate Donohoe, News Reporter

Montrose High School has decided on “Red Hawks” as the new mascot going forward. The decision was made by both student and community member committees over the course of the year and is meant to represent strength and power.

“It had to be non-human, and the other [criteria] was it had to represent our community and western Colorado, where we live,” Montrose High School Principal James Barnhill said in a presentation to the school board. “It also had to be something like a role model that represented strength and power and courage and persistence, and finally, to be honest with you, it had to be cool. It had to be something that we could market and rally around and that we could do a lot of different things with.”

In coming up with possible new mascot ideas toward the beginning of the process, Barnhill asked Mascot Committee members to come up with their top 4 choices for the new mascot, resulting in Mountain Lions, Raptors, Storm, and Bulls. He then approached the Student Council with hopes to receive feedback from students in the school. Counsel members were asked to write down any possible mascots that they themselves would like to be represented by. Ideas included Mammoths, Wolves, Mountain Lions, and Falcons.

“[Red Hawks] was a student idea, and he met with four different groups of students and did the same thing. We all came up with Red Hawks, and we all liked it a lot,” sophomore and Student Council member Rachel Robuck said.

The ideas thought of and voted on most by students within the school included Mustangs, Mavericks, and Red Hawks, and were added to the original list of four possibilities. Montrose High School’s Super Crew, a group of students and leaders from different clubs and activities within the school, were then asked to choose their favorite 2 from these 7 options. This resulted in Mavericks and Red Hawks being the top choices.

“We got a lot of input, and then the kid groups really are the ones that kind of molded the final decisions,” Barnhill said.

The options were then taken back to the Mascot Committee, who were asked to decide on their first and second choices. 92% voted for the Red Hawk to be the Montrose High School’s mascot going forward, with 12 of 13 members voting in favor.

“It was taken to the adult focus group,” Robuck said. “They had the original four, Bulls, Storm, Raptors, and Mountain Lions, and then they had Red Hawks, Mavericks, and Mustangs, and almost unanimously they voted for Red Hawks.”

Going forward, MHS will be taking student submissions for mascot designs through 4:00 PM on February 15, with a $500 prize being awarded to the best. Any MHS student interested in submitting a design is encouraged to do so, and submissions can be sent through

“Mr. Barnhill really values that we live in a beautiful rural community, and so I’m really trying to stress that with the students,” Graphic Design and Adobe Photoshop teacher Rebecca Schwerdtfeger said.

According directly to the official flyer sent out by MHS:
– “The designer must be a currently-enrolled MHS student to participate in the contest.
– All artwork must be original artwork drawn/created by the artist themself- no clip art.
– The design should be submitted as a .jpeg or .png. Should your design be chosen, the artist will need to provide the original, editable file- if computer-generated.
– The artist should keep in mind that the design will need to be easily reproduced in a variety of formats and for a variety of applications- color usage and simplicity should be kept in mind.
– The logo design should be cool and marketable, representing the new mascot of Montrose High School: the Red Hawks.
– The logo design should reflect mascot characteristics that are important to our Montrose High School community: strength, power, pride, unity, etc.
– The logo design should reflect aspects from our community and the area we live in (rural, mountains, rivers, etc.).
– Once selected as the winning design, Montrose High School and MCSD will own the design and all associated rights- including the right to further fine-tune to arrive at a final design.”

“I think it’s really cool that Mr. Barnhill has come out and said that it will be a student that we select, and nobody else,” Schwerdtfeger said. “He wants it to come from students, to focus on students, and he is giving a really nice cash prize for it.”