Lakeview Middle adopts new mascot

The adoption took place following discussions with students and parents at the Winter Garden middle school.

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When West Orange High School opened in 1975, Lakeview High School became a junior high school for grades seventh through ninth. Twelve years later, Lakeview became a middle school for sixth through eighth grades.

Generations of Winter Garden and West Orange County students have proudly called themselves Lakeview Red Devils since 1927.

The school has ushered in a new era with a new mascot — students at Lakeview Middle School are known as the Lakeview Lightning.

In May, the school posted on its Instagram page, lakeviewms_ocps: “Lakeview High School will always be the Red Devils, and now we have a mascot for our middle school.”

Jacquelyn Ihnenfeld, Lakeview assistant principal, said the decision to adopt a new mascot was driven by students and parents during the 2022-23 school year. The other two options were the Lynx and the Lobos.

“Families brought it up at a SAC meeting, and then we put it in the hands of student leadership to come up with three options,” she said. “Students and staff voted, and with (more than) 60% of the vote, we adopted the Lightning. … We’ve received nothing but positive feedback.”

But not everyone is excited about the change.

Dick Lindsey was the athletic coach at Lakeview High School.

“LHS holds a special place in my heart and mind,” he said. “The school was built, named and a mascot was selected; the school still stands, and the school board should honor the love, devotion and pride the Winter Garden community has given to the one connection that united them while students there —and that is the Lakeview High School Red Devils. The powers that be may change the mascot’s name … but to the alumni, citizens of Winter Garden and the faculty and coaches who gave a part of their soul to LHS, the Red Devils will never be replaced.

“All of us are just letting the current students and administration borrow our beloved school,” Lindsey said. “They can change the mascot, but they will never change what is etched in our mind, and that is Lakeview Red Devils.”

Ihnenfeld said the school technically adopted a new mascot for the middle school only.

“The mascot was technically never changed,” Ihnenfeld said. “We aren't getting rid of the Red Devil mascot — that will always stay with the high school memories and historical documents shared on campus.”

The school colors remain maroon and gold. Lakeview officials also updated the digital artwork for the front of the school and the school crest.

The campus still contains all the Red Devil historical images, yearbooks, jackets, photographs and other memorabilia, Principal John Linehan said.

“Once we complete the comprehensive rebuild, we will be dedicating space to display all the high school history for visitors and students to see,” he said.

Linehan, who was hired as Lakeview Middle principal over the summer, was in favor of the new Lightning mascot for the middle school because he had a story behind it.

“When I was (principal) at West Orange (High), I used to go on the news show right after the weather,” he said. “The students doing the weather always had nicknames. There was ‘Heather with the Weather’ and ‘Hailstorm Hailey.’ Since I went on right after them, I gave myself the nickname ‘Lightning Linehan,’ and it really stuck with me for those years.

“When I found out that Lakeview had changed to the Lightning, I was totally shocked,” Linehan said. “It’s pretty great! ‘Lightning Linehan!’”

The new artwork was created free of charge by one of Linehan’s friends; his payment was Lakeview Lightning swag.

Apopka Memorial Middle School, which was previously Apopka Memorial Junior High, also has adopted a new mascot in lieu of the Blue Devils and now is known as the Seahawks.



Amy Quesinberry

Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.

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