While Rock Hill students might be divided into thirds for high school attendance, there’s one place where every Northwestern, Rock Hill and South Pointe high school student can intermingle – the Applied Technology Center.
But ATC staff members say most people don’t even know the school exists, let alone know that it represents a shared space for all Rock Hill teens. So they’re trying to strengthen the school’s identity.
Enter ATC’s new mascot, the Beartrollion.
The Beartrollion – a combination of a Rock Hill Bearcat, a Northwestern Trojan and a South Pointe Stallion – was the brainchild of ATC staff members, said director Don Gillman.
“This is where the Bearcats, the Trojans and the Stallions all come together,” Gillman said.
Guidance counselor Paula Hobbs came up with the name and digital art teacher Chris Valk designed the Beartrollion. He combined the ears, eyes, teeth and fur of a Bearcat with the nose of a Stallion, all topped with the helmet of the Trojan.
Two weeks ago, the ATC staff debuted the new logo on T-shirts, and the response was overwhelmingly positive, Valk said.
“The students love it,” Valk said. “They’re thrilled.”
There’s now a demand for Beartrollion T-shirts, not just from ATC students and support staff members but from across the district.
Getting the Beartrollion out into the public eye will “start a conversation” about ATC, Valk said.
“Sometimes people forget that we’re here, so this is our way of reminding the community that ATC is here,” said marketing teacher Ina Pascal. “We’re working with your students, we’re proud to be one of the high schools in Rock Hill and we work with all three schools.”
Students at any of the high schools can come to the ATC for specialized classes to prepare for college or a career. About 2,400 students from across Rock Hill will take classes at the center this year, Gillman said.
The inclusiveness of the center, now apparent in the Beartrollion mascot, makes the situation unique, he said.
“It takes all three high schools to make ATC successful,” Gillman said. “It’s not about one school or the other; it’s about all of us.”
And the Beartrollion shows that the ATC is focused on the students – the most important element of education, Pascal said.
“We are raising all our children,” she said. “This is what it’s all about.”