The final four options for the Watertown High School mascot – or logo – that will go with the Raiders nickname were presented to the School Committee this week, and they seek input from the public about the finalists.
The School Committee has set up an online survey for the community to give its input about the four images.
The finalists are: a knight riding a horse into battle, a knight’s helmet with “Raiders” on the grill, a shield with a “W” on it, and a knight standing behind a shield.
Take the WHS Mascot Survey by clicking here.
Students at the high school will be surveyed by the School Committee High School Representatives. The School Committee will consider the input from the online survey and from the high school when it makes the final decision at its Nov. 13 meeting.
The search for a new mascot started over the summer with the creation of the Ad Hoc Mascot Screening Committee. The members included WHS staff, students, parents, alumni and parents, said School Committee Vice Chair Kendra Foley, who chaired the Mascot Screening Committee.
Last spring, the group accepted dozens of ideas and sketches for what the new mascot would look like. Over the summer, the proposals were narrowed down and earlier in October the Screening Committee chose the top four.
Three of the mascot images include a shield, and Foley said that the shield has different meanings, including a lowered shield is welcoming, while a raised one is shows strength. She added that the shield was important to the Ancient Greeks, who said a helmet and spear are to protect an individual, but a shield protects the whole line.
One student on the Screening Committee suggested the school have Shield Awards for achievements in athletics, on the robotics team, in a musical and other activities at WHS, Foley said.
She told her colleagues on the School Committee “a mascot has just one job: to unify. Too often we talk about the ideas that divide us.”
As the proposals for a new mascot have been publicized many have asked why Watertown is searching for a new mascot, saying they like the old one.
The image of a cartoon dancing Indian has been associated with Watertown High School, but officially the school has not had a mascot, or logo, since the 2000s. Team uniforms had “W”s or the word Raiders on them. The Indian, however, is still used by Watertown youth sports and on unofficial items representing the high school.
The School Committee has been uncomfortable with any Native American imagery because some feel it is offensive, and fearing having such a mascot could open it up to a civil rights suit. Other schools and colleges around Massachusetts and the nation have changed their mascots over the past few decades.
Two years ago, the School Committee explored the idea of choosing a new mascot, but in the end decided to go with the status quo. Many alumni and students said they like the association with Native Americans and do not mean, or see any offense from such images. Others said using an Indian, particularly a caricature, is offensive to Native Americans.
At the time, School Committee members said they want to stay away from offending anyone, and also noted that the dancing Indian is an image known as “Yakoo” created by a North Quincy High School students in the 1950s. School Committee members also wanted to stay away from trademark issues.
Last year, Interim Superintendent John Brackett decided to restart the search for a new WHS mascot. He said he heard repeatedly from current students that they want something to put on T-shirts, hats and other items representing the high school besides the “W” or Raiders. That led to the creation of the Mascot Screening Committee.