They weren’t just random ideas. The ladies who won the mascot, color and logo contest for the new Destin High School put a lot of thought into their submissions.
Last week the governing board of the new Destin High School revealed the winners of the contest at a Town Hall Pep Rally at the Destin United Methodist Church gymnasium, the school’s future home.
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In the mascot contest, there was a tie between Brooke O’Keefe and Gloria Brooke Tucker, who both submitted the concept of a shark.
Both girls grew up in Destin and went to Destin Elementary where they were the Dolphins and then to Destin Middle, which are the Marlins.
“So you always kind of thought if we had a high school what would the mascot be ... I always thought dolphin, marlin, shark,” said O’Keefe, who is a senior and a cheerleader at Fort Walton Beach High and also serves as the 2019 Miss Destin. “They are such a big fierce creature ... and a big part of our community.
“They’re all around in our waters, so it just made sense,” she added.
As for the type of shark, O’Keefe said she would like to see it be a mako shark.
“They are my favorite type of shark,” she said.
Tucker, a life-long resident of Destin with deep ties to the community, is fond of the mako as well.
“Back in the day, daddy (Richard Lawson) used to tell all the funny stories about the sharks and dolphins and how they’d steal your bait,” Tucker said, thinking of her family roots, which go back to her great, great grandfather, William T. Marler, one of Destin’s founding fathers.
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The shark was obvious for Tucker as well.
“My main one was the mako shark. That’s the one that I did, because of cobia. My family likes the cobia and so does the mako shark,” Tucker said.
Tucker said the mako would work well for graphic designs and would be easy to recognize with the pointed nose and giant eyes.
“They’re pretty fierce and they’re really fast,” Tucker said.
Plus, she said, they are “big and strong and can weather the storm.”
Tucker said she sees teachers and students, like the shark, weathering whatever storms might come their way.
To say the young ladies were excited and surprised to have their submissions picked would be putting it mildly.
“Oh my god, I might have teared up a little bit,” Tucker said, when the announcement was made. “It’s an honor ... and a huge blessing.”
Tucker said she can’t wait to tell her kids one day that their mother helped to name the mascot of their high school.
O’Keefe feels the same.
“It’s definitely an honor,” she said, noting that one day she will be able to share with her kids as well about choosing the mascot. “In some ways it seems small but in other ways it’s such a big step in our community.”
Tucker sees Destin High as a big step for the community, one she would have taken.
"If I had had the opportunity to go to this school, I would have taken it in a heartbeat,“ said Tucker, who is a 2012 graduate of Fort Walton Beach High.
As a matter of fact, Tucker has been encouraging area youth to attend Destin High and sees it as a big drawing card for the area in the future.
“Believe me, once this high school gets put in, people will be coming to Destin,” Tucker said. “The high school will help our city thrive ... I believe that. I think this high school is going to change Destin as we know it.”
The submission of the winning school colors, cerulean blue, silver and black, was made by Emily Stephens, a mother and teacher at Destin Elementary.
“I’m very flattered and honored that I can be a part of Destin history,” Stephens said.
When picking the color scheme, Stephens said she knew it had to have some kind of water base.
“Our foundation here in Destin is water, so the cerulean blue was really easy for me,” she said.
As for the silver, Stephens explained that when you see an angry sea it’s grayish silver with white foam.
“And when the sun glints on it, it turns sparkly silver like diamonds. That’s how I thought of silver and ringing words of truth. That’s what we always want our children to always have,” she said.
As for black, she said it adds a sense of “mystery and foreboding ... just going into the unknown.”
Stephens, like the rest of the ladies, had no idea her submission had been selected until the night of the pep rally. However, when she saw the color of the huge balloons on stage, she had a good idea her colors were in the mix.
“I can’t wait to see how it is all integrated into all of the schemes of the school itself,” she said.
Briar Ramswell, an eighth grader at Destin Middle and future DHS student, won the logo portion.
Her logo shows a fish fin coming out of a wave.
However, due to the priority of fundraising and getting students to apply, the final logo design will be left up to the entering ninth grade class, according to a news release put out by the DHS governing board.