HENRICO COUNTY, Va., (WRIC) — When students and staff at John Rolfe Middle School in Richmond walk through the school doors next week, they will be greeted by a fearsome jaguar, the new mascot for the school.

A new logo, featuring a jaguar baring its claws over the words “John Rolfe Jaguars,” will appear on athletic uniforms and around the school starting this year. The wild cat is replacing the school’s former mascot “the Indians.” It was officially announced this mascot, along with the old logo, would be retired at a Henrico School Board meeting in June.

The change to the mascot originally began as a student-led class project and quickly grew in scale. John Rolfe students worked alongside school administration to survey students, school staff and members of the community on their opinions for a new mascot. Students even consulted with members and clergy of the Samaria Baptist Church in Charles City County, a church which includes members of the Chickahominy Tribe.

The final logo was designed with assistance from the HCPS Division of Communications, and marks the conclusion of the two-year process to replace the old mascot.

“I am overwhelmed with joy to see a class assignment inspire genuine inquiry, dialogue and research which ultimately initiated change,” Debbie George, the school’s former principal, said. “I am grateful to those who honored our students’ voices and guided them in this process. The work of these four students exemplifies each aspect of the Henrico Learner Profile. A problem sparked an idea. An idea initiated action. Their action initiated change. I look forward to seeing what else blossoms in our former students’ near and distant future, and anticipate great success.”

Students chose the final mascot over two other finalists, the Raptors and the Ravens. George credits the final decision to the students wanting a mascot that represented strength but also, a bright new future for the school community.

“Students felt the jaguar symbolized valor, presence and most importantly, a future of success,” George said.

The mascot also has the stamp of approval from John Rolfe`s new principal, Darryl Johnson, who joined the school in July.

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the John Rolfe community,” Johnson said. “This student-led initiative illustrates the pride, innovation and unity I’ve found since arriving. Go Jaguars!”

John Rolfe Middle School will be back in session on Monday, Aug. 29.