It's commonly referred to as the flying "P," and it's about to fly higher in Portage.
The italicized "P" logo used by Portage High School's baseball and basketball teams recently was chosen to represent all athletics in the Portage School District. Three other logos will be dropped.
"After a couple of years here, I was like, ‘Hey, we've got a couple different logos.' I think it's important that the high school athletic program is a team and that everyone have the same helmet, logo, and get on the same page. It seems like a symbolic gesture, but it's an important gesture that we are all working toward the same goals," said Jim Langkamp, athletic director for the Portage School District.
The use of four logos to represent Portage athletics came about gradually, he said. Aside from different logos in use by different sports, the game schedules and the school emblem carried their own images. One of the dropped logos is a block letter "P." The others are a "P" with a knight in armor and a "P" inside a shield with a sword. All the logos use black and orange, the school colors.
The winning logo was created more than five years ago by then-Portage High School student Missy Simerson for the school's baseball team.
Last summer, Langkamp created the Captains Council, which focuses on leadership, sportsmanship and citizenship. In-season varsity captains have met on Friday mornings before school to talk about such skills. The issue of various sports logos was discussed with the council this winter, Langkamp said.
"There wasn't a vote within the Captains Council. The discussion was who should we include in the vote (of the logos). Their involvement was to give feedback," Langkamp said.
It was decided that staff and students in Portage High School and Portage Junior High School should vote for one of the logos during their lunch periods. High school students voted before spring break, and junior high students voted after it.
"We wanted something they like. Otherwise it defeats the purpose of having a symbol we can be proud of and have represent our athletic teams," Langkamp said.
Two of the old logos had references to the Warriors; one had the knight in armor and another had a shield and sword.
Still more popular is the retired warrior head logo, said Colleen Zimmerman, the owner of Zimmerman Promotionz in Portage, but she said she doesn't think there will be controversy about the newly finalized logo without a warrior reference.
"We've kind of gone a few years now without a real logo. When you don't have an actual mascot, you can only do so many things," Zimmerman said.
Langkamp said there hasn't been a push for a mascot or a mascot costume, so it's not really on his radar right now.
Zimmerman Promotionz has been one of the providers of apparel for Portage School District for seven years.
"I never use the warrior head for any school team. It has to be for personal use," Zimmerman said.
Most people who request the warrior head grew up with it, she said, and not too many people were fond of the knight logo.
Charles Poches, district administrator, said that he was approached about the logo idea and supported it.
"I said, ‘I think it's a great idea.' We need one image that people could recognize our district by when it came to athletics," Poches said.
Matt Denure, a social studies teacher at PHS, said Simerson created the winning chosen logo as a favor. She was an art student and submitted several ideas for the baseball team, which Denure was coaching at the time.
"We just wanted a logo different than a block (letter) logo; we wanted something a little bit nicer than the standard font. She just kind of did it to be nice," Denure said.
The logo consolidation will not create additional costs for team uniforms, Langkamp said. The football helmets get new sticker logos every year, the basketball and baseball teams already use the chosen logo, and future game schedules and clothing will use the common logo.