School takes action to enforce additional mascot

Julianna Poe, Sports Editor

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In light of the ongoing conversation, Student Council, Tribe and cheer captains met to discuss the logistics of the implementation of a secondary mascot at Manhattan High.

“We’re two years later and there’s been a lot of articles written about it, a lot of opinions met with student leaders and assets,” principal Michael Dorst said. “[We asked ourselves] ‘is this the time to do this?’ and it was agreed upon.”

Two years ago, the student body of 2018 through 2021 conducted a vote to elect a secondary mascot. Altogether, 889 students participated in the election with the choice of either a sunflower, bison, wolf or the option to have no additional mascot. Out of the 67% who choose to have a secondary mascot, the wolf received the most votes. Following the vote, on Dec. 20, 2017, the Board of Education voted to give the final approval of adding an additional mascot to Manhattan High over to StuCo.

“I don’t believe that the task that was charged to us on [Dec.] 20 is meant to change the minds of… individuals,” Dorst said. “One thing that an overwhelming majority of people I believe would agree on [is] it would be inappropriate to have an image of an Indian on the sideline[s].”

Come this January, the wolf mascot, which will be performed by a cheerleader due to Kansas State High School Activities Association rules, will make its first debut in Varsity basketball games and will have a presence at Varsity football games as of the next school year. 

According to senior Hannah Higgins, student body president, it is important to understand that the intention of adopting a secondary mascot is not to replace the current mascot, but to acquire a physical mascot to hype up the crowd at home games without unintentionally crossing boundaries.

“It’s a rally[ing] image and the goal [is to] have an image that can be down on the courtside and on the field that can pump up the audience,” Higgins said. “A lot of 6A schools in our area already have physical mascots, so us joining that bandwagon makes sense because we are a big school.”

According to senior Madeline Croker, Tribe co-president, by securing a secondary mascot, the hope is to respect those with Native American heritage and lessen the controversy over having an ethnic minority for a main mascot.

“Having an ethnic minority for a mascot would potentially raise a lot of issues … with the people of a Native American background or heritage because to them, it’s like we’re just dressing someone up like an Indian and saying that it is representing their culture,” Crocker said. “I think the wolf is a good way to … honor their culture, but also not make fun of them [or] be too derogatory towards people of Native American heritage or descent.”

Currently, the design of the wolf is still in the planning phase, but the general consensus is to have a wolf head with a jersey sporting the power Indian to compliment the look.

“I think most people like the idea of having a rally image that kind of looks like Willie the Wildcat,” Higgins said.

The addition of a physical mascot will not only benefit the cheer team in competition, but also, according to senior Jillian Harris, cheer co-captain, add to school spirit at athletic events and, eventually, receive an optimistic reaction.

“The student body as a whole I hope have a positive response to [the wolf mascot] after being educated on why we implemented this decision,” Harris said.

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