Senior Julia Donescu becomes school’s go-to mascot designer


Sophia Keang

Senior Julia Donescu works on the new Westford Academy Ghost mascot.

Sophia Keang, Editor-in-Chief

As she walked through the halls, her peers and teachers congratulated her. After months of meetings with the administration and tireless nights of redrawing the new ghost, senior Julia Donescu’s work on her unique mascot submission had finally paid off.

Earlier this year, WA officially announced the new school mascot, changing “the Grey Ghost” to simply “the Ghosts”. Out of the 40 WPS student mascot submissions, senior Julia Donescu’s design was ultimately chosen to be WA’s official mascot.

The left side of the image depicts the old Westford Academy mascot that has been established for years. The right side of the image depicts the new WA mascot designed by senior Julia Donescu. (Graphic by Sophia Keang)

While many students and faculty were not pleased with changing the new mascot due to tradition and the time the process took, many have begun to embrace it. For the past few weeks, Donescu has become a household name to student clubs and sports teams around the school. She has made numerous variations of the new mascot for the school’s Mock Trial Club, WA Choir, the WA Ghostwriter, and the Westford Youth Lacrosse Program.

“Myself and the Mock Trial team are extremely appreciative of Julia for creating our logo,” Mock Trial Club co-captain and junior Nikhil Singh said. “The fact that clubs across Westford Academy now have access to an incredibly talented artist like my friend, Julia, to create custom logos for their clubs is valuable. The versatility of the logo is going to be a huge asset for the future of WA.”

The graphic displays the different variations of the new mascot senior Julia Donescu has created for different school and community organizations. Donescu has created a logo for the WA Ghostwriter (upper left hand corner), the Westford Youth Lacrosse Program (upper right hand corner), WA’s Mock Trial Club (bottom left hand corner), and WA Choir (bottom right hand corner. (Graphic by Sophia Keang)

While not all student organizations have reached out to Donescu to create a design for them, many have taken Donescu’s design and created their own. Organizations such as the Gender and Sexuality Alliance have already incorporated the new mascot into their merchandise.

Westford Academy’s Gender and Sexuality Alliance club presents a new logo for their t-shirts that includes Donescu’s new ghost. (Photo taken from @gsawestfordacademy on Instagram)

Donescu’s initial thoughts on changing the school mascot were indifferent. She wasn’t usually a student who’d express her opinion on controversial topics but decided to submit a mascot design anyway because she thought it would be a fun project to do in her free time that contributed to the Westford community.

“Originally, I didn’t have a huge opinion on changing the mascot,” Donescu said. “I knew it was happening but I wasn’t really involved in it. But I realized that this year would be my final year at WA and wanted to leave my mark somehow.”

Many students and faculty were worried that changing the mascot would eliminate the “intimidating” factor of the mascot with its crossed arms and ambiguous facial expression. Thus, Donescu took this concern into consideration when designing the new mascot. Keeping the element of the ghost, she wanted to ensure that the school’s identity remained “intimidating”.

“I know that I didn’t want the new mascot to look like the old one,” Donescu said. “I thought that if we were going to change the mascot, we might change it as much as we can but stay true to Westford’s culture and identity… Though, for our sports teams, I also wanted to keep the ghost intimidating.”

Other factors Donescu wanted to keep were the school colors—white, grey, and maroon. She didn’t want the mascot to lose too many “traditional” elements that contributed to the culture of WA and Westford as a whole.

The design process started back in April. Donescu’s involvement in this project included attending meetings with administration and endless hours revising to perfect the mascot. This process continued into the summer as well. With college applications and spending time with friends and family, fortunately for Donescu, she did not find the mascot project too strenuous, but found the outcome rewarding.

“Even though it was a lot of work, it was all worth it in the end,” Donescu said. “I’ll know I’ve made an impact in WA.”

Donescu mentioned that the administration had a tremendous impact on the new design. However, WA Principal James Antonelli is grateful that he had the opportunity to work with a student like Donescu during a tough process.

“Julia is a very talented artist,” Antonelli said. “She was open to any suggestions… Whenever I would email Julia, she would see me the next day, and she would accept the feedback and she agreed with the feedback and made changes. I am extremely proud of Julia, and I am sure she received both negative and positive input. The negative input can really take a toll on someone, however, Julia has stood strong and is proud of her work. I admire Julia and appreciate her perseverance.”

With the new adjustment for everyone in the WA community, Donescu also received both positive and negative feedback from students and faculty. She had heard the mascot compared to a tissue, a bat, and even a curtain.

“Because a lot of people didn’t realize I drew the mascot, people often talked about my design in close proximity to me,” Donescu said. “Still, I kept thick skin throughout this whole process because I knew that there would always be people who didn’t like my design. I just had to focus on the good.”

Donescu mentioned that she is open to any student clubs or organizations that are looking for a new logo with the new ghost. Students or faculty can reach out to her through her email, Instagram, or in-person. Currently, she does not charge any fee for her work.

“I love when people reach out to me and ask for a specific logo,” Donescu said. “I have so much fun designing new mascots because it helps me free my mind from other work in my life.”

Email: [email protected]
Instagram: @juliadonescu