After the first effort to come up with a mascot to go along with Watertown High School’s Raiders nickname stalled, school officials will once again look at the issue.
Two years ago the School Committee decided to let the status quo remain, which was to have no emblem to represent the Raiders. The issue became a contentious one because some groups – particularly WHS alums – felt they were not being included in the discussion because the selection process was limited to students at the high school. Others opposed the use of the cartoonish Native American symbol being used by many youth sports, and some opposed any logo portraying an Indian.
Interim Superintendent John Brackett said he has been approached by several people asking for a mascot for the high school.
“(The mascot) brings a common identity to the Watertown High School Raiders, and are often used by other youth groups,” Brackett said. “In the absence of one, groups choose their own.”
Brackett suggested having a committee to choose the new mascot which includes alumni, community members, students, coaches, boosters, the principal and the athletic director.
Town Council President Mark Sideris thanked Brackett for bringing the issue back, and including a broader group.
“We had a challenging time when we discussed this before,” Sideris said. “This is a prudent approach because it includes a lot of people that we did not include in the discussion last time.”
Because the mascot is for the school, not just the sports teams, School Committee member Eileen Hsu-Balzer suggested adding some others to the mascot committee.
“It should represent the entire spectrum of the school and students of all types and interests who are not involved in athletics,” Hsu-Balzer said.
She added that one thing that came from the first attempt to find a mascot was that the cartoon Indian was created by a student at North Quincy High School and it is copyrighted. It was never the official mascot for Watertown High School, but has been widely adopted by youth sports teams.
The School Committee voted last week to create a committee of 12-15 people and will include will be composed of the WHS Principal, WHS students and staff, WHS alumni and parents, and community members. The goal of the committee is to “identify an appropriate mascot that represents the values, attitudes, personality, and character of Watertown High School.”
The committee will select 2-4 finalists to send to the School Committee, which will make the final decision in June. The conceptual drawing will be taken by a professional graphic artist to create the final mascot design, according to an announcement from School officials.
Those wishing to be included in participating on the committee must submit an e-mail or letter “explaining how you would contribute to the work of the Committee and also your position in the schools or community, such as parent, alumni, etc.” the announcement said. Nominations are due by 4 p.m. on April 26 and should be sent to Christie Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or School Administration, 30 Common Street, Watertown, MA 02472.
Questions can be sent to John Portz, School Committee Chairman, at email@example.com.
Here is the entire statement from The Watertown Public Schools:
For many years, Watertown High School and its athletic teams have been nicknamed The Raiders. This nickname has become a connection to the traditions of the school, teams, and community. In recent years, however, the High School has not had an official mascot associated with this name. To address this, the Watertown School Committee is seeking input from students and staff in the Watertown schools, as well as, WHS alumni and members of the Watertown community to identify an appropriate mascot that represents the values, attitudes, personality, and character of Watertown High School. The first step in this process is creating a Screening Committee that will solicit, review, and recommend nominations for a mascot.
The 12-15 person Screening Committee will be composed of the High School Principal, High School students and staff, High School alumni and parents, and community members. Selected by a subcommittee of the School Committee, this group will have public meetings in May and early June to consider mascot nominations and recommend 2-4 of these to the School Committee for a final decision in late June. A professional graphic artist will assist with creating the final design.
If you would like to be considered for the Screening Committee, please send an e-mail or letter explaining how you would contribute to the work of the Committee and also your position in the schools or community, such as parent, alumni, etc. Nominations are due by 4 p.m. on April 26 and should be sent to Christie Fisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or School Administration, 30 Common Street, Watertown, MA 02472.
Questions can be addressed to John Portz, Chair of the School Committee, at email@example.com.