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Student Designs New Logo For White Oak Middle

White Oak Middle School’s (WOMS) Principal, Kevin Gale, announced today that will be changing its logo and mascot to be more culturally sensitive. The Middle School will still remain the Warriors but with a logo and mascot that reflects the Northwest Local School District’s (NWLSD) values surrounding sensitivity, inclusivity, equality and diversity. 


Since last spring, WOMS Administration and District leadership began researching and creating a plan to effectively address the logo, which at that time was a Native American with a cultural headdress. WOMS administrators began the process by reaching out to stakeholders through a survey that was shared to students, staff, parents and community members. Upon receiving the results, the decision was made to keep the name Warriors, but to move forward in identifying a new mascot that would appropriately represent the middle school.


“The majority of respondents were in favor of remaining the “WARRIORS” but changing the logo to bring it up to date and in line with our District’s strategic plan,” said Gale. 

  

Gale also contacted the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). “It was important for me to gain an understanding of how our mascot was being received by the Native American community. Our mascot has been in place since 1960, but I realize it’s time for it to change. Our staff and our students know that it’s time to move forward,” said Gale. 


NCAI is the oldest, largest, and most representative national organization representing tribal nations and peoples. NCAI has been leading the country’s movement to eradicate offensive Native “themed” mascots from sports and popular culture for the past fifty years. A resolution that NCAI’s membership passed in 2005 explains, “the use of ‘Native American’ sports mascots, logos, or symbols perpetuates stereotypes of American Indians are very harmful. The “warrior savage” myth has plagued this country’s relationships with the Indian people, as it reinforces the racist view that Indians are uncivilized and uneducated and it has been used to justify policies of forced assimilation and destruction of Indian culture.”


The push to establish changes surrounding diversity and sensitivity is a movement that started at the top that is being implemented districtwide. “We want to show that our District is committed to creating an environment that reflects the beautiful communities in which our families live,” said Darrell Yater, Assistant Superintendent of NWLSD “Our goal is to develop cultural competency that embraces diversity, ensures inclusivity, is sensitive to all groups and creates equitable opportunity for all.”  


Although the change has started, NWLSD Superintendent Todd Bowling recognizes that full implementation will take time. “This process has been in the works for awhile now. We’re happy the day is here and we can finally roll out the new logo. Rolling out the old mascot and fully implementing the new one will be a gradual process, but we want our community to know that this important work is being done,” said Bowling.  


For Gale, that work started with the staff and students, making sure to involve both in the process. Students were asked to submit logo ideas. “They have been excited to be a part of making history as they tapped into their creativity to sketch and draw the new logo/mascot,” said Gale.   


Over 40 students turned in original artwork. From there, administrators and staff helped narrow down many excellent options to three designs that were created and submitted by Morgan Heinrich, Austin Long and Carter Sansone.The three students inspired ideas were then recreated into an online format by WOMS Art Teacher, Lori Pfingstag. The top three ideas were then sent out to be voted on by the student body, staff and the community. Morgan Heinrich, WOMS 7th grader, prevailed as the winner with a shield design. 


"When I think of a warrior I think of fighters and knights. And from that, I thought of swords and shields. I know that knights have a symbol of where they're from on their shields, so I wanted to put a "W" on the shield to represent White Oak,” said Heinrich.


Although, the mascot and logo have changed, Heinrich is convinced the school spirit and pride have remained unchanged. 


“I just really wanted to find the best way to show everyone that we are the Warriors and we are proud,” said Heinrich.

 

 


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