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Turners Falls High mascot task force still welcoming submissions

  • Turners Falls High School is at 222 Turnpike Road in Montague. RECORDER STAFF/SHELBY ASHLINE

  • A supporter of the Indian mascot enters a Turners Falls Football game. Sept 15, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Recorder Staff
Wednesday, January 10, 2018

TURNERS FALLS — More than 100 submissions have been received about a new mascot for Turners Falls High School as the Gill-Montague Regional School District moves toward a decision on a replacement for the Indian.

The task force gathering mascot suggestions is still accepting nominations, which so far have ranged from the old Indian logo to elementary school submissions like “coyotes” or “blueberries’’ — which drew a chuckle from school committee members who heard an update this week.

Many people in the community opposed dropping the Indian mascot after some Montague and Gill residents called for a change in late May 2016, arguing the mascot was racist. After a number of discussions and forums, the school board voted to remove the Indian in February 2017, and reaffirmed the decision following a nonbinding referendum in May 2017 that supported restoring the Indian.

Alana Martineau, a Turners Falls resident on the Turners Falls Logo/Nickname Task Force, updated the board Tuesday.

“At this point (the task force) has met a total of five times,” she said.

By Nov. 30, more than 50 suggestions were submitted. By Dec. 14, the task force had received slightly over 100 suggestions, some with professionally designed artwork. Most submissions have been anonymous.

“There were some really cute ones from the kids at the elementary school,” Martineau said.

However, Martineau said “quite a few” of the submissions have requested to keep the original Indian image.

“This isn’t going to change back, as much as some people hope it will,” she said.

According to Martineau, to get more suggestions, the task force plans to increase social media presence and contact alumni groups.

“We’re trying to keep the energy really positive,” she said.

None of the submissions have been screened yet, because the task force doesn’t want to discourage any ideas. A discussion is expected soon on when the task force will close to submissions. Afterward, the task force will eliminate submissions that do not fit the school’s criteria, and send the rest to the school committee for review by the end of February, Martineau said.

On Wednesday, Martineau said the task force is reluctant to adopt a strict timeline for its work “that we can’t adhere to. ... We don’t want to come across as wishy-washy.”

Due to snow, a Jan. 4 meeting about the search for a new mascot has been rescheduled to Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. in room H205 at Turners Falls High School.

Suggestion boxes were placed in Erving, Gill, and Montague schools and town libraries. A Facebook page for the task force, facebook.com/tfhslogo/, was created. Submissions may be emailed to submissions@tfhslogo.com, mailed to P.O. Box 514 Turners Falls, MA 01376, or dropped off at the Turners Falls and Millers Falls libraries, Turners Falls and Greenfield high schools and Erving and Gill elementary schools.