After 55 years, sports teams at a West Hartford high school will no longer be the “Indians.”
Northwest Catholic High School said on Thursday that it is ending its association with that mascot and will immediately become the “Lions.”
School officials said a student and grassroots movement led to the change, which was accepted on Wednesday.
“It’s exciting to be part of this historic change,” said Matthew Sottile of East Granby, student council president. “I think this new sense of identity is going to bring about an even greater sense of school pride.”
Officials said Northwest Catholic became known as the Indians in 1964 and only recently began exploring an identity change.
Over the last couple of years, they said a group of students and school leaders felt the use of a Native American name was insensitive.
Once a decision was made to undergo a change, a Simsbury-based consulting firm did a study in 2013. The firm concluded that the word “pride” was closely tied to the school’s mission. That’s how officials said they arrived at the name “Lions.”
"At the end of the day, we're a Catholic high school and the lion represents both the pride of our student body and the theological connection to why we are a Catholic high school," said David Eustis, president, Northwest Catholic High School. "It was a simple transition in terms of what that mascot would be."
Students told Eyewitness News that while they anticipate some resistance, they're excited about creating a new tradition. More importantly, they said, they're doing what's right.
"We're standing out," said Elysia Calloway, a senior. "So, I feel that we are going ahead of others into this movement."
"Let's challenge convention and let's say 'let's be the change,'" Sottile said. "A school in Connecticut hasn't changed its mascot from Indians in 20 years, and I think that for us to really spearhead this effort was really great."
A new logo will be rolled out in a few months, the school said. Students must first come up with a design.
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