A new face will be leading the charge for the Liverpool Regional High School Warriors.
Principal Souhail Soujah said some students brought forward concerns about the school using a native chief in full headdress as their mascot.
He said the administration listened to the students and decided to survey the entire school to find out if the rest of the student body felt the same.
“We have a lot of kids who feel very strongly about the logo itself; it not being appropriate, not being sensitive, not being inclusive to our First Nations students and partners,” said Soujah. “So, moving forward, we will be retaining the name Warriors but we will be changing the mascot for something more appropriate.”
While this is Soujah’s first year at LRHS, he knows the conversation about changing the mascot has gone on for years. He said school should be an inclusive place where no one is made to feel uncomfortable.
“We don’t want anyone’s culture to be our mascot, I don’t think that’s appropriate. Consequently, we feel that it’s time for a change and something new that’s more appropriate, more in line with the times that we live in and again, being inclusive and supportive of everybody in our community,” said Soujah.
The idea to change the logo came from conversations between a group of students, First Nations representatives, and district educational personnel where they discussed the inappropriateness of using the image.
The group decided to move away from the image but keep the name and they are now in search of a new logo.
Soujah said the student body is being asked to submit an sketch or an idea for an image to replace the existing one. He recognizes changing traditions, even with the best intentions, can sometimes be controversial, which is why it’s important the move to change the mascot is being driven from within the school community.
“We know this can be a very polarizing endeavour but we know it’s the right thing to do and the kids are fantastic,” said Soujah. “I mean this is what we want. We want our youth to be leading the way, right? So we want to support them in every way and we’ll deal with the negativity as it comes.”
Soujah said it’s important for everyone to have input on the new logo. He expects if the student body can agree on a new design they could be unveiling the face of the LRHS Warriors before the end of the school year.
Reported by Ed Halverson