Singley Academy students select school mascot

During the school’s graduation ceremony Saturday, June 6, Jack E. Singley Academy unveiled the Phoenix as its mascot.

“We wanted a symbol that will forever ingrain the passion, purpose and opportunities inherent within our school,” said Eli Lucero, secretary of the senior class, who spearheaded the effort to add a mascot to the school’s identity. “The Phoenix is a symbol for revitalization, creation fueled from fire and brings forth the idea of being one single powerful entity.”

Singley Academy is a comprehensive yet non-traditional high school to which students apply and are selected on a lottery basis. The school opened in 2001 as The Academy of Irving ISD and in 2009 was named Jack E. Singley Academy in honor of a longtime Irving ISD superintendent.

The project to name a mascot was initiated by this year’s graduating class, who sought a symbol to trademark the school’s strong career and technical student organizations and to unify the school’s three “floors.” The floors at Singley Academy represent the six career specializations that comprise the framework of the school. Students typically identify with those specialties which include culinary arts and hospitality, health sciences, video game design, visual arts and law enforcement and public service.

“These floors and specialties do not divide or separate us,” Lucero said during his remarks at graduation. “Every one of these expansions exists to build the flame that ignites the spirit of our school to ignite the Phoenix.”

A committee comprised of students, teachers, administrators, parents, community members including Mrs. Carolyn Singley, wife of the school’s namesake and district representatives began meeting in February with an outside, neutral partner – Cooksey Communications Inc.

“It’s been a great opportunity to be a part of creating a brand and identity for our campus that sets us apart from other high schools while unifying our campus,” said Dr. Tamy Smalskas, principal of Singley Academy. “It was a good experience to involve our students, parents and community as well as Mrs. Singley, who shared her late husband’s vision for the school.”

Dr. Smalskas says the mascot will not only be used to unify the school’s areas of studies, but it will also give students something to rally around at competitions. While the school does not participate in UIL (University Interscholastic League) sports, students at Singley Academy are very active in UIL academic contests as well as content-specific competitions. Whether it is a robotics competition, a health occupations conference or a visual arts contest, students from Singley Academy regularly compete and earn top spots in the region and state. Students from a variety of student organizations expressed an interest in creating a mascot so they would have an even stronger presence at competitions and would be able to add the mascot name to cheers, creating more spirit and a stronger sense of team.

The committee identified the central values of focus, commitment and success that distinguish Singley Academy and brainstormed how to interpret those through a mascot. The career specializations offered at the academy fluctuate with the demand of the job market, just as a phoenix is known to regenerate. In addition, the flame of the Phoenix ties into the classic Irving ISD flame of knowledge, and its singularity further promotes a sense of unity.

“The flame of knowledge burns with the passions, wisdom and creative ignitions that embody all of the students here,” Lucero said. “The Phoenix is one single being that symbolizes the unity of our school, all of our CTE programs, clubs and organizations working together.”

The committee generated more than 40 mascot possibilities. Creative directors with Cooksey Communications Inc. created graphic interpretations for several mascot options, and the committee narrowed it to two – the Singley Owls and the Singley Phoenix. All students and staff from Singley Academy had an opportunity to cast their votes, and the Phoenix was declared the winner and unveiled for the first time at graduation.