MASCOT DEBATE MM 01

Fifth grader Jenna Kate Benedick argues in favor of Texans for a mascot during a debate for which mascot students want for their campus at Tarver Elementary School in Temple on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Michael Miller/Telegram

BELTON — Move over Belton High School Tigers and Lake Belton High School Broncos — there are 10 new mascots in the school district.

Elementary students in the Belton Independent School District this week elected their new campus mascot.

The winners are Charter Oak Cheetahs, Chisholm Trail Blazers, High Point Colts, Lakewood Leopards, Leon Heights Lions, Miller Heights Knights, Pirtle Panthers, Southwest Jaguars, Sparta Saber Cats and Tarver Timberwolves.

Like a real-world election, students campaigned for their mascot candidates and debated each other over the merits of each possible mascot.

It was clear Nov. 1 that Tarver Elementary was well on its way to picking the Timberwolves as its mascot.

“Tim-ber-wolves! Tim-ber-wolves! Tim-ber-wolves!” Tarver students chanted before the debate started.

Fifth-grader Ruby Shaffer made the case for the Tarver Timberwolves.

“We, as a school, stay together and don’t leave anyone out,” Ruby said. “Timberwolves are smart. For example, having a smart mascot will encourage us to be smarter.”

Ephraim Sheppard, a third-grader at High Point Elementary, voted for his school’s winning mascot — the Colts. His favorite part of the mascot selection process was making posters for his candidate.

“We had groups and we designed our own posters,” Ephraim said. “Our teacher hung up the posters in the hallways so when people passed by they would want to vote for the Colts.”

Elizabeth Cox — who leads BISD’s communications and community engagement department — told the school board in September that the mascot process would create an opportunity to teach students about the election process and to engage their voices.

The new elementary mascots will be rolled out next fall. Cox’s office will develop artwork and mascot graphics for each campus.

“I can tell you that we will pursue something equitable,” she said. “The conversation that we’ve had is making sure that we develop all elementary campuses with the same high-level graphics, the same high-level imagery and assets to be able to do this. That’s what we are committed to internally, and then how it gets rolled out to every campus, obviously, will be equitable across the district.”