DAVID KEEN/Special to Bullet News
Teaching Niagara children about the War of 1812 is no easy task. Luckily, thanks to Niagara College student Asha Marie Green, Pack and Satch will be there to help.
The duo, a cartoon British backpack and a Native satchel, were unveiled Tuesday as the official mascots for Passport Niagara: A Journey into the War of 1812 educational program. The program was created by the Historic Niagara Education Committee – a collaborative partnership by Niagara’s school boards, the Niagara 1812 Legacy Council, Welland Historical Museum and local historians.
Passport Niagara will launch in June and will work with the Legacy Council’s bicentennial map to help students in grades 3 to 8 learn about the war both in their classroom and in important historical sites in the area.
“As we designed Passport Niagara, we were looking for a symbol that would engage broad range of students and would have a multi-media application,” said Janice Barretto-Mendonca, junior consultant with the Niagara Catholic District School Board. “We are confident that this mascot will bring history to life for the 30,000 students across the Niagara Region,” she said.
When it came time to design the mascot, the challenge was put to Niagara College’s Art and Design program, which held a mascot design contest amongst its students.
“We turned to the college to utilize the design talent that I knew was there,” said Katie Farr, media and communications for the Legacy Council. “The results were beyond our expectations.”
Green, 21, was among 35 students who submitted a design. Rather than try to incorporate both the British and Native influences – a mandate from the Legacy Council – into one character, Green noticed her younger brothers’ preference for cartoons with partners such as Snoopy and Woodstock. Green said that’s what influenced her to make companionship an aspect of the design.
“I can’t believe it. It was awesome to be chosen,” said Green. “I’m so thankful to have an opportunity like this to start to my career.”
Barretto-Mendonca said that choosing the winning design was difficult not only because of the importance of the decision, but because of the quality of the submissions.
“We saw the quality of the artwork the students submitted and the reasons behind them, and it was a difficult choice but we knew that we wanted the back-and-forth between two characters and that was afforded to us by Asha’s design,” she said.
Annette Hemerik, coordinator of the Art and Design Foundation program at the college said the students took the task to heart, and put a lot of hard work into their designs.
“It was a challenging project for the students as the timing for the development and the design of the mascot was intense and deadline driven. However, the result has been received as extremely positive and a great experience for both the students and the Historic Niagara Education Committee,” she said.
While only Green’s design will appear in Passport Niagara, other students were also commended for their efforts including Owen Kleiser in second place, Dayna Kathryn Hambrook in third place, and Stephen Anthony Mallows with an honourable mention.
It was also announced that the Legacy Council had chosen Mallows’ intricate soldier and horse design to be used in a colouring contest being held in May.