An 18-member committee has been appointed to find a new image to represent Watertown High School.
The Committee is called the Mascot Screening Committee, but on Monday night School Committee Chairman John Portz said the Raiders name will not be changed, nor will the school’s red and black colors.
The group has been given the task of finding a mascot, or logo, that represents the high school, its teams, clubs and other organizations.
The current status of the mascot is confusing. While the image of the dancing cartoon American Indian can be seen around town, that is not the official mascot for the high school. In fact, currently, WHS has no mascot. Teams generally have the word “Raiders” or a “W” on their uniforms.
This is the second attempt in the last few years to find a new mascot. The first effort stopped in June 2015 when the School Committee decided to stay with the status quo of no mascot. Many complained that alumni were not included in the search, and there were opposing positions with many favoring use the dancing Indian, while others said the image is insulting to Native Americans. The School Committee discovered the dancing Indian is actually a copyrighted image created by North Quincy High School, and said they would not use that image because of that.
In April, Interim Superintendent John Brackett proposed opening the mascot discussion again because he had received numerous requests to select a new one.
The first time around, the selection process specifically stated that no Native American images could be used. This time around, no such language has been included.
The committee includes current students, alumni, parents, school teachers and staff, retired school staff, town staff and a School Committee member. School Committee Vice Chair Kendra Foley, who is also a WHS alumna, will be the chair of the Mascot Screening Committee.
Proposed mascots will be submitted to the Screening Committee, which will choose 2-4 finalists. Those will be sent to the School Committee which is expected to make a final choice in late June.
The proposals can be rough drawings, and the winning one will be taken by a professional graphic artist to create the final design that will become the new WHS mascot.
The first meeting will be held Monday, May 8 at 7 p.m. The location has not yet been announced. Meetings of the Screening Committee will be open, and the public is welcome to attend, Portz said.
Members of the Mascot Screening Committee
Joseph Bannon, Alumni
Cheryl Furtado, Alumni/Parent
Ann Cox, Parent
Kendra Foley, School Committee, Chairman of Commmittee
Abbie Peterson, WHS Student
Emma McGoldrick, WHS Student
Nathan Follett, WHS Student
Mark Comiero, Watertown Veterans Services Officer
Renee Gaudette, Watertown Boys & Girls Club
Thomas Tracy, Town Auditor
Graham Madden, WHS English Teacher
Holly Cachiumuel, Middle School Teacher
Michael Lahiff, Athletic Director
Shirley Lundberg, WHS Principal
Sonia Tamakian WHS ESL Teacher
Todd Robbins WHS Television Production Teacher
Deborah Johnson, former WPS Staff
Jane Jackson, former WPS Staff