An All New Nighthawk
November 27, 2023
During a fall 1993 meeting of Nightingale trustees, then-Head of School Dorothy Hutcheson announced that, "recently, the first ever Nightingale pep rally was held, and the students have selected a mascot—the Nighthawks." Our own English Faculty Laura Kirk ’94 was a member of the student athletics board all those years ago that helped identify the small-but-mighty nocturnal bird as our official athletics symbol.
Throughout these past 30 years, students have embraced our mascot—coming up with creative posters, spirited chants, and a surplus of energy when sporting the mascot suit to high-five Lower School students as they scream and beam from afar.
In the late spring, a branding committee was formed and tasked with defining designs for a new set of logos—our first-ever, Nightingale athletics brand. These new designs reflect the collaborative voices of a committee that included students, professional community members (ProCom), parents, and trustees. It is also the latest update to the schoolwide rebranding initiative initiated a few years ago that has refreshed our website, emails, magazines, hallways, and so much more. The Nightingale brand serves as the visual representation of our mission and values, and helps foster a sense of unity, pride, and belonging for our entire community.
“I immediately got excited,” Student Committee Member Jada C. ’25 said when reflecting on when she found out about the new brand. “Athletics and Nightingale mean a lot to me, and getting a new logo shows to us and other schools around us that we are putting a bigger emphasis on athletics.”
Mya B.’24, student council president and committee member shared that she was also thrilled when she’d learned about the new brand, and wanted for the brand to depict strength, resilience, aggression, grit, and passion.
“Right now, I feel like Nightingale athletics is starting to take off. We’re starting to kind of take it a little more seriously. I love that, honestly,” Mya said.
Looking ahead, Mya hopes that this change will help the Nightingale community place more of an emphasis on sports—with more community members cheering Nighthawks on at games, matches, and competitions. And, to have more championship banners decorate the Nightingale gym. Student committee member Jane B. ’27 echoed this.
“A refreshed brand for Nightingale means that we are refreshing the ideology around Nightingale athletics,” she said. “Right now, to be a Nightingale athlete to me means to constantly be in a place to learn and grow, in skills, in leadership, and as a team player. In 20 years, I am hoping for each of these aspects to still be true—but true for every Nightingale athlete and not just some.”
On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving break, the entire Nightingale community gathered in the gym for a special surprise. As students made their way onto the seventh floor, they surveyed the to the front of the room where three long banners were rolled up—waiting to be revealed. After a brief introduction from Director of Athletics and Physical Education Mandy Cecil, the Upper School student members of the rebranding committee shared a brief history of the Nighthawk, the importance of an athletics brand, and what it means to them as student athletes. Members of the Middle School athletics board then recited a fun poem written about the new Nighthawk.
With that, the room counted down from 10, culminating in the release of the banners. Displayed were three new and powerful logos for Nightingale athletics. The room erupted with cheer, and each student went home with a sheet full of stickers featuring the new athletics logos so they could decorate their belongings with Nightingale spirit.