NEWINGTON â€“ A stormâ€™s a-brewinâ€™ at Newington High School, the new home of the Norâ€™easters.
The Board of Education approved a formal recommendation by the NHS mascot committee to do away with the Indians and welcome the Norâ€™easters following a long selection and review process.
â€śWeâ€™re very excited about it and weâ€™re going to try to build momentum for it,â€ť Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maureen Brummett told the Herald Monday. â€śWeâ€™ve had a lot of positive feedback so far.â€ť
The BOE has been mulling over the idea of a new mascot for quite some time, joining with athletic groups and schools around the country in abandoning outdated names and icons now considered historically inaccurate and offensive. A committee comprised of BOE members, NHS alumni, parents and students consulted with Town Historian Gail Kelly, Akomawt Institute Project Director Chris Newell and Dr. Glenn Mitoma, director of the University of Connecticutâ€™s Thomas J. Dodd Center. Over 150 suggestions were collected from the student body and the community-at-large.
â€śWe explored every name related to Mill Pond, Cedar Mountain, Berlin Turnpike, Amateur Radio Relay League, Newington history, famous people from Newington, town industries and everything sounded too gimmicky or not exciting,â€ť the committee explained to the BOE during a special presentation April 1. The top four choices were Narwhals, Ravens, Defenders and Norâ€™Easters. The latter was the committeeâ€™s final recommendation.
The name is catchy and relevant, they agreed, and can potentially be portrayed by a yeti or abominable snowman character. An actual image has yet to be drawn up, so thatâ€™s the next step.
The Sachem of the Wangunk peoples originally sold settlers the land for Newington and has served as the schoolâ€™s mascot for at least 50 years. The logo of a Native American wearing a feathered headdress was more recently swapped out for a blue and gold â€śN.â€ť
â€śI think about games where weâ€™ve had to be so careful,â€ť Brummett said. â€śThere hasnâ€™t been a mascot running around the field for so long. Due to cultural reasons and the current political climate it was no longer acceptable.â€ť
While not everyone in the community is in favor of the change, it was the right decision for the school district.
Old uniforms, photographs and trophies will still have their place at the school and in history, but the NHS building and athletic equipment will be rebranded. The school store, The Trading Post, will also be renamed.
â€śMany of us â€“ myself included â€“ have an affinity for the Indians,â€ť said Brummett, who is an NHS alum. â€śWe do respect the history of the Indian.â€ť
Erica Drzewiecki can be reached at email@example.com.