WATERTOWN HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS SELECT
WARRIORS AS THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL MASCOT
WATERTOWN, CT - October 18, 2021 The Watertown High School’s athletic teams will be known as the Warriors, according to the results of a vote by students in grades 8 - 12 and Watertown High School faculty that was announced this morning. Out of over 110 original submissions, The Watertown Warriors received the most number of votes by a substantial margin.
“The selection process for a new school mascot is just as serious as it is joyous. It is a process that our district thought about with extreme care at every step, seeking input from within our schools and the wider Watertown-Oakville community,” said Superintendent Alison Villanueva.
Winter 2021 Retiring the Mascot
On January 25, 2021, the Board of Education voted to retire the Watertown High School Indians mascot. See video here. This vote came after a year-long journey of learning about Native American history, examining Commission of Human Rights and Opportunities policies and listening to the many passionate and heartfelt voices during public comment. A Mascot Committee was formed, with a website created to house the committee’s work. Click for website. “Watertown High School’s legacy is embedded in the people who learned, taught and worked there--from past to present. With the overwhelming vote today, we cap the selection process and turn enthusiastically to the future,” said Villanueva.
Spring 2021 Brainstorming Ideas for New Mascot
When spring of 2021 arrived, the school district moved forward in engaging students from grades 8-12 to choose a new high school mascot.
“The brainstorming and design process when young people are involved to create anything new is always exciting and inspiring. The design process is a chance to look at something in a fresh new way and sometimes that means asking how we can combine tight knit traditions with contemporary ideas to continue taking steps into the future,” said Villanueva.
In the spring, Watertown High School received over 110 submissions offering new mascot ideas. It was important to the district that the selection process was opened up to not only existing WHS students, but to students in eighth grade who would be joining high school in just a year’s time. A notice was also put out in the local newspaper for community members to submit their ideas. After organizing all 110 submissions 72 mascot suggestions emerged and the first vote took place in late Spring 2021 to pare down the initial list to 15 choices .
Summer 2021 Creating Native American Curriculum Opportunities
The district mascot committee also recommended the expansion of educational programming and curriculum related to Native American Studies and the history of the Watertown/Oakville community. This work started to take root throughout the summer of 2021.
“We are reviewing our curriculum to see where the history of Native Americans, and a deeper exploration of our own local communities history could be interwoven throughout our existing social studies curricula,” said Lisa Fekete, the Director of Curriculum and Instruction. “We are excited to share more about this work as the curriculum unfolds over the course of the next three years, so that all of our students benefit from the rich history of Native Americans and the Watertown community,” said Fekete.
Coupled with the curricular work, Ms. Brandi Emmans, an active member of the community, initiated the opportunity for the Watertown Public Schools to connect with the Institute for American Indian Studies, so District leaders could explore the wonderful educational options that could be offered to Watertown students K-12.
Fall 2021 Narrowing Down Selections
In October 2021, students and faculty at WHS and the eighth graders from Swift Middle School cast another vote to narrow the top 15 mascot submissions down to five: Blackhawks, Warriors, Tigers, Wolves and Wildcats.
Finally, yesterday, Tuesday, October 18, the final vote resulted in the selection of Watertown Warriors. In a short TikTok reveal, Watertown High School released the name of their new chosen mascot. See the TikTok video.
2022-2023 Making a Mascot Our Own
Now that the name of the new mascot has been chosen, Watertown High School and the Watertown Public Schools will start the design process of designing the new mascot logo. Watertown High School students will be invited to submit graphic designs of their interpretation of the Watertown Warriors logo and a graphic design contest will take place in the spring of 2022.
Watertown High School will incorporate the new mascot over time. For example, Watertown will follow already existing cycles to refresh uniforms and equipment to create a seamless integration of the new mascot.
“It will take time for our students to come to a final design that we can all call our own,” said Villanueva. “That will naturally take time, and we are eager for the day when, as Watertown High School Warriors, we continue to make more memories when we attend athletic games, proudly watch our students walk the stage during graduation and during other momentous occasions that take place over a student’s academic career that we take with us into the future forever.”