The Jamestown School Board has approved changing the logo and mascot for Jamestown High School, but a motion to also change the name of “Red Raiders” failed.
The resolution gave the approval to the District to hire a graphic designer and a trademark attorney for a logo and mascot redesign as well as approved discontinuing the use of the “J with the feathers” on school buildings and athletic fields, and to replace all uniforms provided by the school with the imagery. School Superintendent Dr. Kevin Whitaker said the “J” on the back of Jamestown High School will be changed as part of the planned capital projects while a number of uniforms have already been replaced at the modified level.
Board member Nina Karbacka had made the motion to change the name of “Red Raiders,” “I feel that though that name had historically not represented Native Americans, it has represented Native Americans for 50 years and is very closely associated with that. And I feel that our board and school system has a strong feeling of inclusivity and respect for our students and that name does not reflect that.”
Board President Paul Abbott said he supports keeping the “Red Raiders” name as it’s been in use since the 1940s, “I look to what the origins were that our committee brought forward to us. That we were the Red and Green Raiders, that we previously had a panther as our logo, that it was shortened to Red Raiders. It is unfortunate, hindsight being 20-20, that it evolved the way that it did.”
Board member Pat Slagle said when changing the mascot was being discussed in 2014, the idea of changing the name of “Red Raiders” was brought up, “At that time we didn’t have the research or history of the committee working, so I was torn of the same idea. Red Raiders – Do we keep that name? Is it based on Native American imagery or connotations? And I think Coach Drake came forward with some evidence dating back to the ’40s and that helped convinced me that the name is not tied to Native American imagery.”
Board member Joe Pawelski, who sat on the Mascot committee, said they’ll be seeking community, faculty, and student input on what the new logo and mascot should be.
The Jamestown School Board also swore in Frank Galeazzo as one of its new members and Nina Karbacka as a returning member at its Reorganizational Meeting Thursday. Paul Abbott was once again selected as Board President.
Two new ex-officio student board members were appointed to the school board as well. High School Seniors Madison Arthurs and Annika Spitzer will serve now until June 30, 2022.
The Board also approved combining the Boys’ Swimming team with Falconer High School and the Girls’ Swimming Team with Southwestern High School. Jamestown High School will be the host for the combined Boys swimming team while Southwestern will be the host for the combined Girls swimming team.