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Oakdale solicits color and mascot ideas

A survey will generate suggestions for Oakdale Middle School, set to open in fall 2023
New courts have been built at the new Oakdale Middle School. Students are in the process of deciding what their mascot and school colors will be. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

While crews are bringing the up-and-coming Oakdale Middle School to life by renovating the historical building it will inhabit, future students and community members are helping in another way: brainstorming a school mascot and colors.

The Medford School District recently posted on Facebook pictures of a tour students got of the facility, at 815 S. Oakdale Ave., before sitting down to come up with ideas that will form the school’s identity. It is just one piece of a larger effort, in the form of a district-sponsored survey recently posted online.

“I think it’s easy to come up with something (ourselves), but that’s not what we want,” said Karina Chavez Rizo, the incoming principal of Oakdale. “We want them to really have buy-in, and I think selecting the colors and the mascot is going to really bring excitement to the students and the community. They can say they were part of the decision-making process. That will really help create ownership and belonging.”

The survey was sent out near the end of July and has produced about 50 responses to date, said Natalie Hurd, the district’s communications and community engagement director. At this time, there is no close date for the survey.

Hurd emphasized the colors and the mascot for Oakdale — to become the district’s third middle school — will not be the decision of Superintendent Bret Champion or the school board.

“Ultimately, Karina and her team would make the final decision, but it is not going to be made in a silo; it’s going to be informed by all of the feedback they get from the community and from students,” Hurd said.

Rizo reported student ideas have included: Owls, Otters, Bears, Sasquatch, Hellcats, Sloths, Rattlesnakes and Pioneers.

“(The students suggested) maybe something that starts with an ‘O,’ like ‘Oakdale,’ or an animal that is represented in the valley we live in,” Rizo said. “They gave us some great ideas and suggestions we hadn’t even thought about.”

During a recent meeting on the Oakdale site, the students asked officials to show them what some of the mascots would look like using the proposed middle school’s colors, which include teal, black and white, purple, navy and silver.

The planning for the eventual identity of Oakdale Middle School is yet one more step that makes Rizo, former principal of Eagle Point’s White Mountain Middle School, excited for her new role.

“Anytime we can bring the kids in to support something we’re doing or give us some fresh ideas, it just helps build excitement,” Rizo said. “Being able to take these kiddos and tell them they’re the first students to get a tour of the building, it got them really excited and makes them feel really special.”

Anyone who wants to suggest a mascot or colors for Oakdale can log on to this link: http://bitly.ws/tcRU.

Reach reporter Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno.