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Rochester Public Schools announces 'Chargers' as mascot for new online school

The colors for the online school will be made up of one color from each of the three mainstream Rochester public high schools.

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ROCHESTER — The very nature of RPS Online allows students, and even its teachers, to be miles apart from one another. In spite of that, Rochester Public Schools is making an effort to bring them together in other ways.

One way they're doing that is with the selection of a mascot: The RPS Online Chargers.

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The Rochester School Board revealed the mascot on Tuesday. Brandon Macrafic, principal of RPS Online, said the decision to select a mascot grew out of conversations with the school's staff about its opportunities.

"One of the top three things that came out of that was a real desire and a need to create a larger sense of community and identity among our students, our staff and our families," Macrafic said.

The process began with nominations from students, families and faculty. Members of a review team voted on their favorite nominations, which resulted in the three finalists.

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The other two finalists included the RPS Online Pixels and the RPS Online Ospreys.

According to Macrafic's presentation, the name Chargers "plays on the digital, plugged-in world tied to RPS Online."

The colors for the online school will be made up of one color from each of the three mainstream Rochester public high schools: gold from Mayo, silver from Century, and black from John Marshall.

"We feel everyone is represented in our logo," Macrafic said.

This will be the school's second year of operation. Superintendent Kent Pekel said on Tuesday that during its first year, the school had more than 500 students.

RPS decided to establish the school in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, realizing that learning from home was the best option for some students.

In spite of the scattered environments of everyone taking part in the school, Pekel said it's still important to create an environment that fosters a common identity.

"We know school culture matters," Pekel said. "It matters in an online environment too. So, having a culture in your school is going to benefit learning; it's going to benefit recruitment for this amazing opportunity."

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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