AHPS Reveals New Mascot

Virginian Review Article

Community leaders gathered Monday, Jan. 30, 2023, to witness a monumental event in the history of Alleghany Highlands Public Schools.

The newly-designed Alleghany High School Cougar mascot was revealed during an unveiling ceremony at Jackson River Technical Center. AHS varsity football coach Will Fields was joined by students from Alleghany High School and Covington High School in unveiling the mascot. CHS Principal Derek Cantrell, AHS Principal Karen Staunton and AHS Assistant Principal Charity Hale have been instrumental in working to complete the necessary items for this important milestone.

The mascot represents a coming together of the two schools in the fall of 2023. In the fall, students in the AHPS Division will merge into a single body of approximately 2,700 students. The new division will have one high school, housed in the current Alleghany High School, and one middle school, housed in the current Covington High School building. The name of the middle school will be Covington Middle School.

“We are so proud of the work of our entire AHPS family in preparing for this transition,” said Kim Halterman and Melinda Snead-Johnson of the AHPS superintendent’s office.  “We are eager to see the enthusiasm of our community continue to build as we approach fall 2023.”

The mascot and the colors were chosen to blend and maintain the proud histories and traditions of Alleghany High School and Covington High School. The Cougar mascot and the navy blue color represent Covington High School. The Columbia blue represents AHS. Alleghany High School will serve all of AHPS’s high school students at its current location on Mountaineer Drive.

The school colors were selected by students in the former Alleghany County and Covington City school divisions in voting that was conducted in fall 2021. Covington Middle School will have the same school colors and mascot.

“It is really exciting that the two blues were the overwhelming choice of the students. To the students it represents the future and to the adults it honors the past,” said Jacob Wright, chair of the Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Board.   

The Alleghany Highlands Public Schools Division was created through the July 1, 2022, merger of Alleghany County Public Schools, Covington City Public Schools, and Jackson River Technical Center. The school board and administrations merged on July 1. The student body will fully merge in the fall.

“While mascots are only symbolic, this unveiling represents countless hours of hard work in bringing our community closer together and better supporting our area’s young people. I couldn’t be more excited to see what the future holds for the Alleghany Highlands,” said Jonathan Arritt, vice chair of the School Board.

The consolidated division has already led to expanded opportunities for students at Alleghany High School and Covington High School. CHS now has its first swimming team, thanks to the team members being able to practice with the AHS swim team. In addition, a wrestler from CHS practices with the AHS wrestling team. He competes for CHS in matches. AHPS students, staff, and parents have worked diligently to make these opportunities possible beginning this winter.

“These joint practices are possible because we are now one division,” said Halterman and Snead-Johnson. “We are so pleased that the consolidation has already led to new opportunities for our students in athletic, artistic, and academic endeavors.”

Monday’s event also showcased newly-formed percussion and color guard groups that feature students from both high schools. The groups were created to maintain interest in the marching band in the fall. A sample uniform for the combined AHS band was displayed at the unveiling.