Toledo School District Approves New Logo; Design submitted by art teacher

By Emily Fitzgerald / [email protected]

An original work of art by Ron Gaul, an art teacher at Toledo High School, has been officially voted as the new logo for the Toledo School District.

Gaul’s design was the most popular of four art submissions that the Toledo High School Art Committee selected as finalists for the community to vote on.

A total of 500 people voted for a logo, “which is really good for a community poll,” said Superintendent Chris Rust.

The Toledo school board officially approved the new logo at a board meeting on November 18 and will officially begin rebranding with a digitized version of the design in the coming weeks.

Toledo High School was among dozens in Washington forced to change mascot and imagery after a new state law banned Native American mascots in most public schools.

Formerly the Indians, Toledo chose the Riverhawks as their new mascot.

While Gaul wasn’t initially excited about the change in mascot, he thought the Riverhawk was an appropriate mascot choice after learning from a fellow trainer that ospreys – like those that nest outside the Toledo Middle School – are Riverhawks.

Although he is best known in the art world for his “art of coffee,” a technique in which he paints using a mixture of coffee grounds and water, Gaul dabbles in a wide variety of artistic mediums and , as a longtime coach and sports fan, he enjoys designing logos for sports equipment and other student programs.

He started brainstorming new logo ideas last spring, even before the River Falcon was chosen as his new mascot.

“It’s a bit of the moron that I am, when I have free time, that’s what I like to do. I like to play with that stuff, ”he said of the sports logo design.

He said he took inspiration from a wide variety of falcon-themed sports logos, taking pieces he loved from different logos, breaking them together and adding his own twist.

He came up with a wide variety of different logos, 16 of which were submitted to the district for review. And while all of his designs differed from each other, they all had one thing in common: the signature capital T with feathers encased in a circle.

Historically, this “circle T” or the “110”, as Toledo staff and alumni called it, was used as an alternate logo for the school and was given as a sticker to students who put in “110 efforts,” Gaul said.

“So I thought, we have to connect the new with the old. They have to keep the tradition one way or another, ”he said.

Gaul deliberately came up with designs that matched the T circle, with the understanding that the feathers in the alternative logo were no longer that of a Native American headdress, but of a hawk, so alumni could continue to be proud of their T. circle their school days in Toledo.

“A lot of what happens is we take the story and just erase it. You can not do this. You can’t just wipe it off. And so you can change the meaning, you can give it a fresh look, you know, but it’s still the T circle and it’s still part of Toledo. This design was huge for me, ”he said.

Gaul is digitizing his winning design for the school district to use on everything from signage to athletic uniforms. He said he won’t make any major changes to the design while the scan is in progress, but plans to “clean it up” and make some minor adjustments before the school district officially starts using it.

Rust expects the rebranding to cost the school district around $ 200,000. The district hopes to get some of the costs reimbursed by the state, Rust said, but they won’t know until the end of the legislative session in February.

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