Stevenson High gets new gender-neutral Patriot logo
A newly redesigned Patriot logo is being added to Stevenson High School athletic uniforms, booster wear and other materials -- and for the first time, the figure will be gender neutral.
The Stevenson Patriot's design has changed frequently since the school opened in 1965, but it's always been masculine. The new logo features a person in a colonial-style hat whose defining facial features -- and gender -- are hidden by the hat and by shadow.
The androgynous design was deliberate, officials said.
"It's important that Stevenson represents everyone," school board member Bruce Lubin said. "And the mascot should represent men, women and everyone that could be part of our Stevenson community."
Stevenson's "S" logo and crest have been revamped, too -- but those changes have nothing to do with gender.
The new images were rolled out to students, staffers and community members this month over email and social media. They're part of an effort to update the Lincolnshire school's mission and vision statement, spokesman Jim Conrey said.
School officials also wanted to move away from the current Patriot logo because it has been criticized for too closely resembling the logo the New England Patriots football team adopted in the 1990s.
Although Stevenson received permission to use and slightly alter the football team's logo, it came under fire when the school launched an anti-plagiarism campaign during the 2016-17 school year, Conrey said. Some students complained the administration was hypocritical for using another organization's artwork.
"The criticism made a lasting impression," Conrey said.
School officials worked with Elizabeth-Ashby, a Barrington graphic design firm, to develop the new images. The work cost $12,000.
Focus groups consisting of students and coaches were consulted, and the final images were approved by a logo redesign committee in February.
The new Stevenson "S" logo replaces a block "S" that was used for decades. It features three stars symbolizing the Stevenson student community's commitment to self, learning and others, Conrey said. Those three commitments are part of a new vision statement to be published in May, he said.
As for the new Stevenson crest, it prominently features the year the school opened, 1965, and the "S" with three stars. Latin text and other elements have been removed.
Coaches will have flexibility about whether to use the new logos on uniforms and helmets. The girls soccer team's jerseys already sport the new crest on their sleeves.
Officials don't know how much it will cost to add the new logos to student athletic gear.
Some fan apparel with the new logos is available for purchase. Most merchandise will be adorned with the new images by the start of the 2018-19 school year.
The logos also will be incorporated into stationery and on the school website.
Officials haven't yet discussed what to do about the old-style Patriot logo on the varsity basketball court.