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High School In Northern Westchester Picks New Nickname To Replace Indians

John Jay High School has found its new mascot.
John Jay High School has found its new mascot. Photo Credit: John Jay HS

The Indians are out and the Wolves are in at a large school district in Northern Westchester.

After weeks of discussion, the votes have been counted and the new mascot at John Jay High School in the hamlet of Cross River in the town of Lewisboro will be the Wolves, replacing the former Indian mascot after it was deemed insensitive.

The initial vote was between the John Jay Wolfpack and John Jay Ravens. The Katonah-Lewisboro School Board settled on the John Jay Wolves.

“Wolves and Wolfpack were overwhelmingly the top suggestions to our selection committee when the community was first surveyed,” school officials said. “When the committee later narrowed the choices, Wolfpack was selected for its connotation of teamwork and because there is one school in Yonkers - not a school we compete against - that uses wolves as its mascot.” 

The vote was temporarily delayed unexpectedly due to concerns “regarding potentially harmful connotations associated with one of the names.”

The Mascot Selection Committee clarified that red flags were raised due to the word Wolfpack being used in connection with the Central Park Five case. They also noted that North Carolina State University is protective of its trademarked “Wolfpack” logo.

“In 1989, the word was used by the media and others in ways that dehumanized the group of boys who were falsely accused and wrongfully convicted,” they said. “In light of the renewed focus on racial justice taking root across the country, we felt it important to pause and learn more – to consider whether a word used to demean in one context can remain free of that negative association in another context.” 

According to the Committee, during the pause caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they “connected with people who study and teach issues of race, culture, and equity. Not wanting to rely solely on the thoughts of individuals, (they) also reached out to representatives of organizations such as the NAACP.”

“In light of the feedback we’ve received, we believe the best decision is to select Wolves as our new mascot,” they said. “We feel this honors the work done by our selection committee and the input received from many in our community (both when it was initially solicited and more recently). 

“Wolves have a strong community connection and can be a proud symbol for our students and our schools.”

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