North Side Legends Ready to Start New Traditions - December 17, 2015

Record Number: 13379
Displayed from: Dec 17, 2015 , until: Feb 17, 2016

North Side High School students have selected Legends as the school’s new nickname following a process that included input from the North Side community, including alumni.

Use of the new name will start with the 2016-17 school year. With the name selected, work will begin on developing a new logo and mascot for the school. The committee gathered to establish the selection process will also establish the process for designing and selecting the new logo and mascot. The school’s colors will remain red and white.

“This is the beginning of a new era for North Side, and students have selected a name that they believe represents the school’s strong past, present and future,” Superintendent Dr. Wendy Robinson said. “This name allows North Side to hold on to traditions that students and alumni have held for generations while also establishing new traditions that will become legendary in their own right.”

The process to select a new nickname began in late summer when members of the Board of School Trustees asked North Side and district leaders to examine retiring the use of Redskins, which has been in place since the school opened in 1927. At that time, the name was chosen as a source of pride in the area’s rich Native American history. But the name is now perceived as a derogatory term and is inconsistent with the district’s core values, which includes valuing “the diversity and uniqueness of our district and community.”

At the start of the school year, North Side staff and students learned about the traditions and history of Native Americans in the area, particularly related to the Miami Tribe, to gain a better understanding of why the nickname is offensive to many people. Students, staff and alumni were then offered an opportunity to suggest new nicknames. About 75 names were submitted, and a committee of students, staff, alumni, parents, a member of the Board of School Trustees, and representatives from North Side’s feeder schools, narrowed down the suggestions. Any names that were inappropriate or already used by nearby schools or schools that North Side frequently plays in athletics were eliminated. The other names were considered one by one. In the end, eight names were considered by students – Falcons, Legends, Mustangs, Nations, Night Hawks, Raptors, Rockets and Thunder. After the first vote, the options were narrowed down to four – Falcons, Legends, Night Hawks and Raptors – with Legends coming out ahead.

The change in nickname will not lead to an immediate removal of all depictions of the current North Side logo and nickname. Only items that could be removed or changed through routine maintenance, such as painted areas, will be addressed immediately. Other items, such as the stained glass window or terrazzo flooring, will remain in place for the time-being.

In addition, school uniforms are replaced on a three-year rotation. At this point, there is no plan to replace all uniforms simultaneously. Uniforms with the new nickname and logo will be purchased according to the replacement schedule.

“While we understand this change does not come easy for some, we are proud of the way our community, especially the students, handled this process,” Dr. Robinson said. “There was no single student or individual who was solely responsible for this new name. Instead, it was collaborative with thoughtful input from a variety of people connected to North Side. We appreciate all the voices we heard in recent months – even those who disagreed with the change. North Side has graduated many Legends – some known nationally, others known locally. Over the next 100 years, we expect many more Legends will walk through the doors of North Side.”

With nearly 30,000 students, Fort Wayne Community Schools is one of the largest school districts in Indiana. FWCS proudly allows families to choose any of its 50 schools through its successful school-choice program creating diversity in each school, including some with more than 75 languages spoken. FWCS offers seven magnet schools focusing on areas such as science and math, communication, fine arts or Montessori at the elementary and middle school level. In high school, students can choose from the prestigious International Baccalaureate program, Project Lead the Way or New Tech Academy as well as other rigorous academic and specialty training programs.