Sanford students to vote on new mascot options to replace ‘Redskins’

Posted June 06, 2012, at 12:27 p.m.

SANFORD, Maine — They could be the Pride, the Stampede, Spartans or the Cardinals.

Sanford residents and alumnus will find out later this week which name will become Sanford High School’s new mascot.

Gordie Salls Sanford High School athletic director, rolled out the possible monikers to the school committee Monday, explaining the process students used to narrow the choices to four. And while the school committee approved all four names, students will be the ones who make the final decision. Voting is scheduled to take place Thursday.

The Pride logo would feature two lions in profile; running bulls would be a feature of the Stampede; Spartans would be depicted by a war helmet; and the Cardinals would feature the red bird.

The school committee last month voted 4-1 to retire the Sanford Redskins mascot. Citing the need for students to have a mascot they could rally around — the Redskins name was de-emphasized several years ago — the school committee decided it was time to make a change.

The decision pleased members of the Maine Indian Tribal State Commission, who had urged the school department to make a change. MITSC members said the name “Redskins” originated as a term for the bloody scalps of indigenous people taken for bounty in the mid-1700s.

Salls told the school committee he and Principal Jed Petsinger gathered team captains, leaders of school organizations, students council members and others — about 75 students in all — and instructed them to poll the students for possible mascot names. Community members were urged to email names to the school as well. Salls didn’t say how many suggestions were received at the beginning, but the list was narrowed down to four.

“I was glad to be a part of this process,” said Taylor Littlefield, who will be a senior in the fall. “We wanted to show unity. I personally like the pride of lions.”

“I like all the names,” said Calvin Eisenhaur, who will be a junior at Sanford High School come September. “I thought we should change our mascot. We can represent ourselves with honor.”

School committee members praised Salls, Petsinger and the students in how they conducted the process.

“You did an exceptional job,” said Chairman Don Jamison.

Noting eighth-graders from Sanford Junior High School and Acton Elementary School will be freshmen at Sanford High School in the fall, committee members asked Salls to include those students in the vote.

Resident Paul Auger suggested students take part in weighted voting so a winner would be chosen with a majority of the vote. Without weighted voting and four choices in the mix, Auger said the winner could end up being chosen with just 26 percent of the vote.

While school committee members agreed that might be a good idea, they said the process was too far advanced to make the change. Salls indicated two of the choices apparently are more popular, at least among seniors, who already have voted.

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