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FORT SMITH -- A committee chose the Mavericks as Southside High School's new mascot Monday and will decide what its logo will be.

The 28 members of the committee who attended Monday's meeting cast 25 votes for the Mavericks and three for the Patriots after more than an hour of discussion.

Southside principal and committee chairman Wayne Haver said the vote was final, because he believed the Fort Smith School Board gave the committee the authority to make the decision on the mascot.

He said he believed Southside High School would be the only school in Arkansas with the Maverick mascot. The mascot also will not require a change in school colors, the Southworld school newspaper or the Southerner yearbook, Haver said.

The committee voted to strike the Spartans from the list of mascot options after one committee member said it was inconsistent with the image the school and community wanted to project.

Haver and others pointed out that the Spartans were a hard people whose government was not a democracy, the culture was very militaristic and they practiced infanticide.

Haver said Southside students were surveyed Wednesday and also chose the Mavericks, with 838 votes, as their top choice. The Spartans were second with 831 votes; then Patriots, 598; Marshals, 494; and Mustangs, 209.

The Spartans, Marshals and Mustangs got no votes from the committee Monday.

Haver said the committee will meet again Oct. 26 to decide how to begin the process of deciding on a logo for the new mascot.

The committee has been meeting to come up with a new mascot after the School Board voted July 27 to eliminate the school's longstanding fight song Dixie and the Rebel mascot.

Dixie was replaced in early July with The Wabash Cannonball as the new fight song. The Rebel mascot will be phased out this school year and be replaced by the start of the 2016-17 school year.

A debate over the racial overtones of the mascot and fight song, which has been smoldering since the school opened in the 1960s, was rekindled this year.

The School Board's committee of the whole recommended the mascot and fight song change in a June 23 meeting. The vote came less than a week after shootings at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., in which nine black people were killed during a Bible study session.

A white man, Dylann Roof, was charged in a 33-count federal indictment in their deaths. The attacks resulted in a nationwide outcry to do away with Confederate symbols after photographs surfaced of Roof brandishing a Confederate flag.

More than 200 people attended the July 27 School Board meeting and a majority spoke in favor of changing the song and mascot.

Days before that meeting, however, about 150 people showed up for a rally at the school to support retaining Dixie and the Rebel, which they said were nonracial symbols of school spirit, tradition, history and pride.

NW News on 10/13/2015

Print Headline: School-mascot panel picks Mavericks

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