Mascot madness

Hockaday escalates school spirit with a Daisy

Anjy Fadairo

Protect! The Meadow!  

Protect! The Meadow! 

Hockaday athletics has almost everything — loud, dedicated fans, encouraging coaches, fabulous athletes, official Hype Women and multiple active social media accounts to cover events. 

However, the athletic inventory is missing one particular item  – an official mascot. 

Not for long, though. 

The athletic board and staff are currently in the process of bringing a Daisy mascot to the school. 


The history 

The process of finding a physical Daisy mascot has been years in the making. In fact, Deb Surgi, director of athletics, said the seeds of the search were planted about three years ago with Margaret Woodberry ‘20, the 2019-2020 Athletic Board Chair. 

“The athletic boards were really involved in raising the level of spirit and trying to move the community to embrace the Daisy,” Surgi said. “Hence, ‘Protect the meadow!’ and the botanical approach to being a Daisy.” 


The demand 

Senior varsity volleyball player and Hype Woman Payton Arbaugh said the school has needed a mascot for a long time.  

“People are able to sometimes dress up like a Daisy, but now, we’ll finally have a mascot, which is so important for school morale,” Arbaugh said.

Surgi said the amount of school spirit the student body had during the 2021-22 school year especially brought the process of acquiring a mascot for Hockaday into fruition. 

“Last year, the students were so spirited, and we [the athletic board] said, we need a true mascot,” Surgi said. 


The process 

Sophomore athletic board member Mae Flanagan said after Surgi found the mascot company that would create the Daisy, board members found inspiration from various sources such as the internet and other schools’ mascots.  

Because of how uncommon a plant – specifically a floral – mascot is, the athletic board and directors spent much time on aspects of the mascot that many other mascots already possess such as the face and limbs. 

“We took inspiration from the Internet and other mascots and then drew some designs with attention to detail,” Flanagan said. “We had to focus a lot on the face for sure.” 

Surgi said one of the special challenges of crafting the mascot’s face was ensuring it made the Daisy suitable for different spaces.

“How do you get the eyes right, the eyebrows, the look, the face, fierce enough to be an athletic mascot; welcoming enough to be at Lower School carpool?” Surgi said. “It is in the nuance of the design where the sweet spot of spirit lies.” 

Senior lacrosse player and Hype Woman Ava Tribolet served on the board that initiated  the mascot development process. She said the board had to, for example, figure out whether the Daisy had arms or leaves. 

“It’s not a conventional object to put a human inside of,” Tribolet said. “We had to really get creative with it.” 


Seeking Inspiration 

While the Daisy mascot is unique, it is not the only one of its kind. Surgi said she heavily focused on the banana slug as inspiration because of its similar novelty. 

“If you’re designing a shark or hawk, even a camel, or an eagle, they already have a face,” Surgi said. “They already have features that you have to create in a Daisy.”

On the other hand, Flanagan regards Stanford University’s Tree mascot as especially spirited.

“The Tree is just really funny; everyone laughs at it,” Flanagan said.“Mascots bring a lot of spirit.” 


A Well-Timed Coincidence

While there is not yet a definitive completion date for the Daisy mascot project, it may be finished in the spring – a few months before Phase One of the Health and Wellness plan, the athletic facility construction, concludes. 


For Hockaday, forever 

Flanagan said the mascot will allow the Hockaday community to build upon what’s already a strong athletic community and tight-knit family. 

“I think it’ll bring everyone closer together and give people a reason to come support their friends and classmates,” Flanagan said. 

Tribolet said having the mascot at One Hockaday pep rallies and at home events after the new fields are built excites her. 

Arbaugh, whose father once dressed up as a Daisy for an SPC championship, said a mascot is a fun and easy way to boost school spirit. 

“No one actually ended up seeing this because it was in Houston, but it was so fun,” Arbaugh said. “It’s a really easy way to have a lot of energy [amongst spectators].” 

“Mascots are a point of pride,” Surgi said. “It’s what represents us, and speaks to the deeper meaning behind who we are as a community and an athletic community.”