Catawba Ridge High School has a mascot. And it’s a slithering snake.
After a majority of students supported Copperheads, which can be found in the area, the Fort Mill school board Tuesday approved the mascot to represent the district’s third high school, scheduled to open in 2019 off Fort Mill Parkway.
The copperhead now will be added to the new school colors Vegas gold and green, tying into the natural landscape of the area. The board also unanimously approved those colors based on student and professional feedback.
Nation Ford High School rising senior Alex Rodriguez, 17, was happy with the decision.
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“I feel Copperheads is an amazing choice,” he said. “Not only is it native to South Carolina and Fort Mill, it’s something we can use plenty of ideas for and the student body can improve on.”
Some of those ideas include nicknaming Catawba Ridge’s common area and football stadium the “Viper’s Nest,” Rodriguez said.
He said Catawba Ridge’s future students may already have a chant in mind for football games - “C U Later!”
The chemical element symbol for copper is Cu.
The students liked Copperheads. They were part of an initial focus group, and the second time around they made up the whole sample. Copperheads emerged both times. Almost 50 students, current middle- and high-schoolers from the district, made up the most recent focus group.
Copperheads took almost half the first-place votes from students, more than twice as many as Coyotes in second.
War Birds, a reference to local World War I fighter pilot Col. Elliott Springs and his book by that name, finished fourth in first-place votes, but overtook eventual fourth-place finisher Pride due to points as a second, third or fourth choice.
“Copperheads sounds the best,” said Nation Ford High School student Deonte Hayes. “It kind of just flows with the name.”
Reactions to all the options were mixed in the community. At the end, the school board chose Copperheads, which aligned with what students wanted.
“It’s important students are involved,” said Tommy Schmolze, assistant superintendent for the district and charged with leading both focus groups.
In a statement late Tuesday, the school district said the official mascot design has yet to be completed.
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082