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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Canyons’ schools continue to get updated logos, mascots

Oct 04, 2021 11:09AM ● By Julie Slama

One of Copperview Elementary’s logos shows a mother cougar and her young, illustrating the importance of family and community. (Image courtesy of Copperview Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

In August, Canyons Board of Education member Mont Millerberg took to the Virgin River Trail in St. George on his bike and along with him, was JarVis, Jordan Valley School’s chameleon mascot.

Well, his was one of 250 brightly colored laminated paper copies which Principal Stacey Nofsinger and her office staff distributed to every student, faculty and staff member as well as the school’s board member before school was out last spring. Each of the chameleons was unique in its color combination as each school member is to its community, she said.

The idea was for everyone to photograph JarVis with themselves this summer—a take on the Flat Stanley project that is popular in many schools.

“We had families post photos on our Facebook page so they could see JarVis playing in the water in a student’s backyard or on a family trip to Wyoming or even travel to Austria,” she said. “It’s been a fun way to connect.”

Introduced as the new mascot last spring, the chameleon replaced a black-and-white mountain silhouette that dated back to 1975. The school community voted for the name of the chameleon, named after the computer software although Nofsinger has made the connection with the Marvel’s fictional character.

“The chameleon is incredibly adaptable and that’s what our students are, and what our staff needs to be as they are flexible to meet each student’s learning,” Nofsinger said. “It is just a perfect fit. With all the different colors chameleons have, it fits our individual students and represents the same brightness that are in the lives of our students. They also have intelligence beyond what we can see, just like our students. The chameleon is something we can all rally around.”

The chameleon was created by Canyons School District graphic artist Jeff Olson, who created the tail in a J-shape to represent the school.

In a district full of cats and eagles, Olson said this project stands out. 

“It definitely was one of the more fun projects I’ve worked on,” Olson said. “There’s so much versatility with the chameleon.”

Since then, Olson has introduced Copperview Elementary’s updated mascot—a female cougar. A suite of complementary designs accompanies the single cougar; in one look, it’s the female with a couple of offspring.

“We wanted them to still be cats, but not on the prowl or aggressive,” he said.

Olson met with outgoing principal Jeri Rigby and as well as current principal Colleen Smith to gain insight into the look and feel that the school wanted for its mascot.

Smith said that the values of the school were discussed.

“We wanted the mascot to represent our community—our students, our parents, our teachers,” she said. “We talked about the importance of the mascot, its value and how to display it. We’re a community so the mother and two cubs showed the importance of our families. It exemplifies our community and how we’re one big family.”

Olson also added the accent color copper to the logo as when it was built in 1961, the school, Copperview, was named after its view of the open pit copper mine.  

“Jeff did a great job capturing the feel of our community and adding accent colors to help our school stand out,” Smith said. “It’s really exciting for our community; we have a lot of Cougar pride.”

Already students and community members have received mascot stickers, some which were distributed at the Harvest Days parade early August in Midvale. A new marquee sign will include the updated mascot and is expected this fall.

Over the summer, Olson also worked with Eastmont Principal Stacy Kurtzhals to update the appearance of Eastmont.  

Banners outside and in the gymnasium, exterior door coverings, column wraps in the hallways and cafeteria, Patriot mascots on the auditorium walls, freshly painted red and blue lockers and inspiring quotes in the stairwells contribute to the Patriot look in the middle school.

“It helped instill more pride in our Patriot pride,” Kurtzhals said, with a pun.

In addition to the Eastmont new branding, Olson also worked on school pins for Draper Park Middle School and is currently updating other logos for several schools. He has updated logos for 31 of the 50 schools since September 2015.

“It’s fun and I like to make the logos personal to communicate the feel of each community,” Olson said. “I want it to resonate with the kids, so they’re excited about their school.”