FLORENCE, Ky. -- Interim Principal Timothy Schlotman is encouraging students to leave their mark on Boone County High School.
Schlotman, with help from photo and digital arts teacher Tom Seyss, is challenging students to design a new logo in an effort to present a more uniform look across the school’s many teams and clubs. Currently, the organizations use a variety of icons, symbols and colors on their uniforms and materials, including an interlocking B and C; a stand-alone, stylized capital B; a capital B with “Rebels” in script; and variations of Mr. Rebel, a mustachioed soldier in a feathered cap.
“It isn’t uncommon for a high school to have many different iterations of a logo, but we want one identifiable logo that we can get behind,” said Seyss who also recently had students digitize the school’s crest. “The students worked really hard, and I’m really proud of them. They are interested in real-world applications. This experience let them express themselves in art with real work applications. The students were absolutely engaged when they knew it was a real thing.”
The new logo, Schlotman hopes, will become a more easily identifiable brand for the school and transcend all student teams, clubs and organizations -- similar to Beechwood Schools’ paw print or Cooper High School’s jaguar. Once approved, the new logo will be phased in while the others, including Mr. Rebel, will be phased out.
“I spoke to the Site Based Decision Making Council and told them I’d like to use Mr. Rebel less and in talking of using that less, we thought about how we don’t have an identifiable logo," he said. He stressed that the school’s colors and the Rebels mascot will not be changed.
Though the council doesn’t have to vote on the new logo, Schlotman wanted to make members aware of his plan to phase out the Mr. Rebel logo, which has been used in some fashion since the early 1990s. He has communicated to staff that no future use of Mr. Rebel will be accepted. More permanent placements of the logo, such as wall paintings, will be removed over time. A Mr. Rebel logo was recently removed from center court in the gymnasium during scheduled upkeep to the floor.
“As things like that come up, we’ve made changes,” Schlotman said. “We’d like to use Mr. Rebel less, out of respect for our diverse population, because we do have the most diverse population in the district.”
The student population includes 37 nationalities, each of which is represented in a display of flags in the school’s common area.
Schlotman, who has spent his entire 32 years in education at BCHS, was named interim principal for this school year, replacing longtime principal Mark Raleigh.
“During senior exit interviews, almost every senior mentions that one of the things they really like about Boone County High School is the diversity,” he said. “That doesn’t coincide with some uses of Mr. Rebel.”
Seven high schools in Kentucky -- Allen Central, Atherton, Boone County, Boyle County, Casey County, Owen County and Todd County Central -- use Rebels as their athletics mascot, with several using some version of a soldier as their logo.
Students were given little direction for the art contest -- only to create a logo that utilized its current colors of Columbia blue and gray.
“I think too often in education, we don’t seek the input of the student body. This is the students’ school, and they need to show ownership and pride,” said Schlotman. “If they can develop a product, a logo, that we can agree on, it can increase their buy-in. It is important to have experiences outside normal classroom experiences, and this is one of those experiences.”
Approximately 30 students have submitted artwork for the contest, which will be judged by school representatives. A winner will be selected in the coming weeks. As in the real world, however, the winning design will likely require some editing based on feedback from the judges.