The Dresden Elementary School Dragons have a new look for their mascot and a new school sign, all through the efforts of a fifth-grader and her mother.
Katrina Willey and her daughter, fifth-grader Jessie Willey, designed the mascot and raised the money for the sign with the sale of shirts featuring their dragon.
Willey, of Dresden, said she became interested in designing a new mascot when Jessie entered kindergarten. Now Jessie, 10, is in fifth grade and Willey’s son, Eli, 6, is in first grade.
“When I was in elementary school, school spirit was a huge thing for me and my peers,” Willey said. She felt Dresden Elementary students could use a mascot they were proud of.
Willey said the school did not have a consistent design for its mascot and used various clip art instead. She volunteered to design a new logo for the mascot.
Willey has 20 years of experience as a marketing professional, with a background in branding and graphic design.
“I wanted something that would last, something that would leave a legacy,” she said. She gave various computer versions of the logo to the school for future use.
Willey refers to the new logo as Jessie’s brainchild. In 2014, Jessie sketched a design of a dragon and Katrina uploaded the picture into Adobe Illustrator, where she was able to complete it by evening lines from the original picture.
“It was fun to help design and I really enjoyed being part of the creation,” Jessie said. “I hope future students will love the dragon as much as I do.”
The logo incorporates the school’s historical colors: gray and maroon. Dresden Elementary teachers reviewed the new mascot.
To accompany the new logo, the school thought of a list of core values, each starting with a letter from the word dragons. The values are being Disciplined and focused, being Respectful, having Awesome attitudes, being Goal-setters, believing it’s OK to make mistakes, making sure Needs are met, and having a Safe environment.
Willey reached out to Dresden Elementary librarian Deb Burk, who runs a printing business. Burk made T-shirts and sweatshirts with the new logo. Willey sold the clothing at school functions, such as open houses.
Students could pre-order the clothing at a lower cost, Willey said.
Nancy Stover, a former kindergarten teacher at Dresden Elementary, was the liaison between Willey and the teachers.
The teachers voted to use the funds for a new sign. Another option was to give a T-shirt with the new mascot to each student and duffel bags to each teacher.
The previous sign, with students’ handprints scattered around the school’s name, was becoming weather-worn. Dresden Elementary School Principal Christie Jernigan said the previous sign was made by students and former art teacher Tina Wood.
Willey recruited Portland-based artist Lucy Bergeron, who painted the double-sided, 6-by-4-foot sign for $500. The sign has a maroon background, white block lettering, and a green version of the dragon.
RSU 2 grounds personnel helped install the sign just a few days before the first day of school.
Today, the teachers use the logo on school forms and certificates. In the future, Willey hopes to do as she originally set out to do: give a T-shirt to every student.
“It has been a long process, but what I think we ended up with is just want the school needed,” Willey said.