Ossining’s Mascot Search Ends with a Roar

Photo OHS Athletic Department

The Ossining school district’s yearslong process to adopt a new mascot ended with a roar.  

The Board of Education on June 5 greenlit a lion mascot, marking a milestone in a collaborative effort that’s been years in the making. 

A poll earlier this year asking current students, parents, guardians, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members to choose between a lion and an owl received 2,779 votes. Of that total, 70.14% chose the lion; 29.86% chose the owl. From the student population alone, the lion polled 80.63% to 19.37% for the owl. 

A survey outlining the overwhelming desire for a new mascot received 2,987 responses. 

The lion is perceived as symbolizing courage, bravery, freedom and leadership. The concept of a “pride” of lions further reinforces the values of unity and family, mirroring the collective strength and perseverance of the district.  

“The lion embodies the spirit of Ossining — we are courageous, we persevere, and we take pride in our community,” said Adrienne Kantrowitz, a student involved in the mascot selection process. “Having a unified mascot will strengthen our identity and bring us closer together.” 

For the past 20 years, Ossining lacked one cohesive mascot, with various disjointed symbols representing the six different schools. This fragmentation even resulted in the high school’s cheerleading team losing points at a recent competition due to the absence of a mascot.  

Recognizing the need for a unifying symbol, students rallied for change and led a campaign to identify a mascot that reflected the voices and desires of the Ossining student body.  

During February, March and April, the Virginia-based advertising and branding firm Joy Riot conducted research and toured the district’s schools to understand their cultures and values.  

The process included focus groups and communication meetings, as well as a survey. The majority favored a single mascot or a version thereof for all schools in the district. Community members emphasized the importance of a mascot that represents local pride, while students highlighted the value of a symbol embodying pride and unity.  

In collaboration with Joy Riot, the district is developing designs that represent all facets of the student body, including athletics, arts, and STEM programs.  

Multiple options will be presented, refined based on feedback, and ultimately lead to the final mascot design. The goal is to have the design approved by the school board and completed by the end of this summer. The district could potentially send out a new poll to choose the final design, according to Nicole Reis, executive assistant to the superintendent. 

“We are thrilled to introduce the lion as our new mascot,” said Interim Superintendent Mary Fox-Alter. “This choice symbolizes the values and spirit of our district—strength, unity, and pride. It’s been incredible to see our students lead this initiative, and I’m confident that the lion will inspire and unite our community for years to come,” 

Ossining removed the Indians as the district’s nickname in 2002, following a state Education Department recommendation that districts stop using Native American symbols as mascots. Ossining later changed the nickname to the Pride.


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