Norcross, GA, August 21, 2008 --(PR.com
)-- What do Banana Slugs, Thunder Chickens, Urchins, Kewpies, and Artichokes have in common? They are all names of school mascots. Steeped in history and meaning to students, faculty and alumni, a mascot can be a person, animal or object and is historically supposed to bring good luck for the organization it represents. High schools and universities have been using mascots since the late 1800’s.
In a recent online contest, the Ashworth University student body elected to become the Knights by an overwhelming 55% majority. Students were asked to submit recommendations which were culled down to three choices by a committee of students and school administration. Students then voted on the three selections: Knights, Archers, Owls.
Largely associated with school athletic teams, it was a pleasant surprise to Ashworth administration to discover a grassroots initiative on the student Forum expressing interest in a mascot. Ashworth University, along with Ashworth Career School and Ashworth High School, is a distance learning institution, operating without many of the trappings associated with the traditional brick and mortar school, i.e., classrooms, sports, student organizations.
“Our students represent a large segment of the population attempting to manage career and family as well as their education. They are drawn to our programs because they are flexible, self-paced and fit into their existing lives,” said Jon Bouffler, Ashworth Executive Vice President. “In spite of not physically attending classes, our students express interest in many of the trappings associated with a traditional school environment – connecting with Ashworth and other students, having pride in their school. The school mascot is a symbol of that pride.”
“Developing an online community is a natural for distance education students. However ours is much more that a social site,” Bouffler added. “It’s the student union, the school library, the career counseling center and much more all rolled into one. Through our online communities and the AU Forum we can give them a well-rounded experience.”
While interest in a school mascot had been building over the past several months, it was student Dan Green of Jackson, MI who is credited with first suggesting Knights as the school mascot. “I wanted a mascot that would represent the Ashworth student as seekers of knowledge and truth,” he said. “Knights are heroic champions. Defenders of a good cause.” Green is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Management.
“There was a lot of thoughtful consideration that went into the short list,” said Jayme Normand, an early supporter of having a school mascot. “We’re proud of our school and wanted to be sure that what we selected would withstand the test of time and represent a wide and diverse student body.” Norman, who also serves as the student newspaper editor-in-chief, resides in Addis, Louisiana and is pursuing a Paralegal degree.
The new mascot is just one of several student-driven initiatives that developed within the Ashworth online communities. To date, students have also established online fraternities and sororities as well as a student newspaper.
Ashworth University, a worldwide leader in comprehensive distance education, offers diploma and degree programs in high school, career school, associates, bachelors and masters. It is accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). Based in Norcross, GA, Ashworth University, offers more than 450 different high school, career school, associates, bachelors and masters courses.