TURNERS FALLS — A group of individuals who advocated for changing the Turners Falls High School mascot has started a Gofundme to help cover the costs of the change, an effort to relieve the school of having to spend money on the change.
Rachel Baker, a former Turners Falls teacher, said the group wanted to do something to dispel the notion that it was only outsiders who wanted the mascot to change, and who would abandon the school now that the issue had been decided.
“Now we just feel like it’s really important to not just walk away,” she said.
She said those involved in the Gofundme campaign set a goal at $10,000 because she wanted to make sure all teams and activities were covered. The initial quote from the district said it would cost about $8,000 to change the football uniforms and the scorer’s table where some form of the Indians mascot is used. Four thousand of that was allocated for the uniform change in the upcoming year’s budget.
Baker, who now lives in Florence, said that it was a group idea, but that she has stepped forward to be the public representative for the group because she no longer lives in the community and it’s become a divisive issue within the town.
She said the fundraiser is meant to be a step to heal the community. She said those involved worked hard on the wording to make sure the Gofundme didn’t re-litigate the details of why the mascot was changed.
“We want this to be purely positive,” she said. “Let’s move forward, let’s support the students.”
The fundraiser is a response to a vote the Gill-Montague Regional School Committee last month to change the Turners Falls High School mascot from the Indians. Ahead of that vote there were months of forums on the issue. The committee hasn’t selected a new mascot yet.Goal of $6,000
The group has already raised $3,785 and has set the goal of reaching $6,000 before the next School Committee meeting, March 28.
Baker said she has seen how sports can bring the community together. She said that she isn’t shocked to see how much the group has already raised, and that many of those who wanted the mascot to change offered to donate throughout the process.
“I was very much a part of the community and the lives of these young people and it makes me really proud,” she said.
For more information on how to donate, visit https://www.gofundme.com/supportTFHS
Reach Miranda Davis at 413-772-0261, ext. 280