NORTHBOROUGH – Say hello to the Titans — Algonquin Regional High School’s (ARHS) new mascot.
The high school announced the new mascot on Feb. 11, concluding a process that began over a year ago.
“I saw the unity that the school had around the Tomahawk, but I think this is going to be a new era for our sports teams, and it’s going to bring an even higher level of unity than we saw before,” one student said in the video announcing the new mascot.
The Titans were one of five final options for the ARHS students to pick from.
Those other options included the Eagles, Falcons, Nor’Easters and Thunder.
The mascot was revealed on Friday in a video shown to ARHS students, who voted on the mascot earlier this month.
School officials then shared the news with the community at large.
That study group was formed following a petition asking to change both the high school’s name and mascot.
“The Algonquin name in conjunction with the Tomahawk mascot — which is an ax-like weapon — perpetuate racist stereotypes, classifying Natives as violent and barbaric,” the petition said.
The mascot had been adopted after Peter’s High School in Southborough and Northborough High School merged to form ARHS in 1959.
After voting to retire the mascot last year, a separate study group began working on finding the new high school mascot.
Over the summer, the high school launched a survey, asking community members what should replace the Tomahawk.
That generated a list of potential mascots that was ultimately whittled down to these five options.
Some advocate to keep Tomahawk
Some community members have advocated to keep the Tomahawk throughout this process.
School Committee member Daniel Kolenda specifically also said in September that some residents did not feel heard.
During a November School Committee meeting, John Fouracre, who graduated from Algonquin in 1960, voiced his support for the Tomahawk and talked about the history of the school.
“For you to make a decision like this, it’s a sad day because in many opinions, it’s a disservice to the school and the communities of Northborough and Southborough,” Fouracre said of the mascot change.
Mascot Renaming Study Group member Jonathan Cahill reflected on this process during a December School Committee meeting.
“Narrowing that down slowly but surely was not easy work, but it was very rewarding work,” Cahill said. “Getting to hear what the community had to say, I think, was the best part of it.”
Before the students voted, some of ARHS’ classes worked to create campaigns for each of the options, including a slide deck that described the brand attributes of each of the options.
Moving forward, the high school has been working on a graphics package that could be used by teams and clubs. That package could be shared with youth sports leagues in town that also use Tomahawk branding.
In January, ARHS Principal Sean Bevan told the School Committee that he was working with the Algonquin school store to accept some pre-orders of apparel that could be ready the day after the school revealed its mascot choice.
Bevan said the staff will start ordering uniforms, flags and decals that would be replaced on a cycle.