After student-led effort, John Rolfe MS will start 2022-23 with a new mascot and logo
Henrico, Va., Aug. 22, 2022 — John Rolfe Middle School has unveiled a new “Jaguars” logo that will greet students and staff when the new school year kicks off Aug. 29 for Henrico County Public Schools. The new logo is the culmination of a two-year, student-led process to examine the suitability of the school’s longtime “Indians” mascot. Students and school administrators announced at the June meeting of the Henrico School Board that it would retire the Indians nickname and logo.
The new logo, which features a jaguar baring its claws atop the words “John Rolfe Jaguars,” will replace the former Indian head design on athletic uniforms and in various places throughout the school. Mascot logos will be updated as funding allows. The logo was designed with assistance from the HCPS Division of Communications.
What began as a class assignment eventually expanded beyond Henrico County. John Rolfe students worked with administrators to survey students, school staff and members of the community. They also consulted with members and clergy of the Samaria Baptist Church in Charles City County to gauge their opinions on use of the Indians mascot and nickname. The church includes members of the Chickahominy Tribe and shares historical ties with the tribe.
“I am overwhelmed with joy to see a class assignment inspire genuine inquiry, dialogue and research which ultimately initiated change,” said Debbie George, the school’s former principal and now administrative coordinator for alternative education at New Bridge Learning Center. “I am grateful to those who honored our students’ voices and guided them in this process. The work of these four students exemplifies each aspect of the Henrico Learner Profile. A problem sparked an idea. An idea initiated action. Their action initiated change. I look forward to seeing what else blossoms in our former students’ near and distant future, and anticipate great success.”
The Henrico Learner Profile is Henrico County Public Schools’ blueprint for learning, emphasizing student agency and the qualities students need to thrive in a changing world.
Students chose the “Jaguars” nickname over two other finalists: Raptors and Ravens. In a survey, students said they wanted a mascot that embodied qualities such as success, strength, pride, kindness, hope and resilience.
“Students felt the jaguar symbolized valor, presence and most importantly, a future of success,” said George.
John Rolfe’s new principal is Darryl Johnson, who joined the school in July after stints at Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Fairfax County Public Schools.
“It’s an exciting time to be part of the John Rolfe community,” said Johnson. “This student-led initiative illustrates the pride, innovation and unity I’ve found since arriving. Go Jaguars!”
The school is named for colonist John Rolfe, whose 1612 cultivation of foreign strains of tobacco at Henrico County’s Varina Farms helped make the Virginia Colony a profitable venture for investors. Rolfe married Pocahontas, daughter of Native American chief Powhatan, in 1614.