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Freedom has mascot down Pat

By MELIA BOWIE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 24, 2002

TAMPA PALMS -- A surprise it was not.

What would Freedom High School, now under construction in Tampa Palms, choose for its colors and mascot?

The landslide winner: The Patriots. The colors: Red, white and blue.

"It's in keeping with the patriotic theme of freedom and liberty," said pPrincipal Richard Bartels. "I think that was the prevailing thought among the students."

The Hillsborough County School Board approved the choices at its Tuesday meeting. About 1,100 future Freedom students met Bartels earlier this month when he visited Benito and Buchanan middle schools and Gaither and Wharton high schools bearing ballots. During the introductions, students voted for their new mascot and colors.

Among the choices were the Jaguars (teal, black and white), which came in second behind the Patriots.

Other options included the Bruins (blue, white and orange), the Gators (orange, blue and white), the Spartans (garnet and gold) and a write-in selection.

"The write-in category produced some interesting results," said Bartels, but the Sept.11-inspired theme of patriotism held true.

Bartels, who is still hiring staff and recently moved into a trailer on the Freedom High site, said he will wait a bit longer to commission designs for a school mascot. Freedom also needs a song, but first it must hire a band director and chorus instructor.

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