New mascot introduced to community

High school students recognized for work on mascot creation

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published October 17, 2013

 Students Trenton Hudson and Ronald Robertson present Pioneer Roc to the Harper Woods school board during an Oct. 15 meeting.

Students Trenton Hudson and Ronald Robertson present Pioneer Roc to the Harper Woods school board during an Oct. 15 meeting.

Photo by April Lehmbeck

HARPER WOODS — Wearing pioneer-style apparel and a big toothy grin, the district’s new mascot, Pioneer Roc, can entertain a crowd and build an atmosphere of school spirit every time he enters a room.

He’s new to the Harper Woods Secondary School campus, thanks to a couple of students who spent the last year working to turn a dream into a reality.

“The cool part is this was entirely student-led … including the renderings and design that ultimately led to the manufacturing,” Superintendent Todd Biederwolf said in an email.

High School students Trenton Hudson and Ronald Robertson, dressed in suits and ties, were recognized during the student spotlight portion of the Oct. 15 school board meeting.

Students lined the back of the room in support during the presentation. Pioneer Roc danced on the side of the room during a slideshow about his first days on the job as the district’s mascot.

They got him just in time for homecoming festivities, where he made his official debut, pumping up the crowds.

The students came to Biederwolf with their idea after the football season last year.

“We sat down and thought maybe we needed more school spirit,” Robertson said. “We wanted to bring more people out to the games.”

He also wanted a mascot that would entertain children.

“I love kids,” Robertson said. “So when they’re happy, it just brings out the love in everybody.”

Robertson said they had no idea what it would take — the time frame that would be needed — when they set out on their journey with the blessing and help of district officials.

Robertson thanked administrators like Biederwolf and Phyllis Greene, executive assistant to the superintendent, for their help.

“You’ve always supported us throughout the whole thing,” Robertson said.

District Business Manager James Dennis spent some time ensuring the mascot would make it to the school on time for homecoming.

“It got a little tight at the end,” he said.

“You guys did a phenomenal job,” Dennis said of the teens.

The process started by getting quotes on the cost to build the mascot.

Biederwolf asked the boys to get two quotes.

“We brought him three,” Robertson said.

“We didn’t want just any mascot; we wanted it to be built to last,” he said.

Hudson said that when looking for design aspects, the boys put a lot of thought into every detail.

They thought about pioneers and how they dressed and appeared.

“We were looking at old images of how pioneers used to live,” Hudson said.

They consulted with Dan Welch, of Loonie Times, a custom mascot company, throughout the construction process.

“He just made himself available to us,” Robertson said. “He knew we were really serious about what we were doing.

“We talked to him over 100 times,” he said.

They did a survey on the name. Biederwolf suggested Pioneer Pete.

“Me and Ronald was like, ‘Hmm maybe,’” Hudson said.

They weren’t sold on it.

With a few names on the list, the results were in.

“Roc won two votes above Pioneer Pete,” Robertson said.