There were lions, tigers and bears.
Even leprechauns made a strong showing.
But ultimately it was the panther that finished on top.
After more than 1,000 nominations were submitted, Pine Hill Middle School staff members selected the panther to be its mascot.
The new school opens its doors in August, but on Tuesday staff members gathered for their first meeting at nearby Diamond Lakes Elementary School to plan for the new year, including selecting a new mascot. Staff members cast votes for their favorite among the top 11 online submissions.
It was the first time that a Richmond County school turned to the public for mascot advice, Principal Glenda Collingsworth said, pleased with the process. Opening up the mascot selection sets the tone for how she wants the school to operate, she said.
It truly does take everyone working together to make a school successful, Mrs. Collingsworth said.
Pine Hills art teacher will now begin designing the panther, making sure not to create an image too close to that of the Carolina Panthers or any other trademarked panther, she said. And when students arrive in the fall, they will select the panthers name.