Changing the mascot: Why not?


Joe Lamburn

Assistant Online Editors Tisya Singh and Srishti Kaushik argue that replacing the school’s much debated mascot is a no-brainer as students will quickly adjust to the change.

Tisya Singh and Srishti Kaushik

We’ve been listening to people talk about the validity of our school mascot for what has felt like ages. And it has been ages. Many discussions and petitions to assess the Tomahawk have transpired in previous years but have never come out with any significant results. With recent events, a new study group was created near the start of the school year to reassess the Tomahawk. So yet again, the student body has been swept up into the debate over our mascot, with opinions all over the place.

Surely, most of us have heard students’ judgments, both strongly for and against changing the mascot. The Harbinger has come up with many articles regarding the topic, all bringing in their own perspectives and beliefs. But even with the statistics, facts and discourse about political correctness, it seems that many people are still not understanding why this discussion is occurring in the first place.

At this point, you’re probably wondering what our opinions are. To answer that question, the two of us are fully in support of changing the mascot, but this article isn’t going to be directly reflecting that. Instead of arguing for change, we’ll be asking, why not?

One of the most popular points we’ve heard in support of the Tomahawk is that of school spirit. “But the Tomahawk represents our school! It can’t be replaced!” Sure, we get where you’re coming from, that’s the purpose of a school mascot, but does our school really have as much “spirit” as people claim? 

Take spirit week for one example. Have you honestly ever seen people other than teachers participate in those? Okay, maybe a few enthusiastic students do, and kudos to them, but overall, “Beach Day” and “Pajama Day” look like any other day at Algonquin. And don’t even get us started on the pep rally. 

The point is, our school doesn’t even have much attachment to the mascot and the atmosphere it’s supposed to create. If we change it this year, for example, it would be a big deal at first. The school would have to worry about changing uniforms, repainting the gym floor, updating the score signs on the football field and other costly expenses that nobody wants to think about. But after that storm has passed, a few years down the line, there will be a new generation of students coming up to Algonquin. They’ll have no idea that things were this way, and even if they did, it wouldn’t affect them. The new mascot would be their mascot and the Tomahawk – ancient history. 

So again, we raise the point: why not change the mascot? Sure it represents our school and its “spirit” but honestly, that can be symbolized with any other mascot, one that doesn’t cause constant debate and make our school look ignorant.  

Moving onto the topic of our sports teams, athletes will continue to succeed and be motivated, regardless of the mascot that supposedly illustrates them. An athlete’s accomplishment on the field, track, court, or pool is hardly reflected by the symbol on their uniform.

From our personal experiences on the cross country and swim team, we have rarely seen the impact of being the “Tomahawks”. Although technically that is our mascot, we scarcely use or are known by that name. Usually, we go by a shortened version, the “T-Hawks, or simply “Algonquin”. If the Native culture and history behind the tomahawk were truly something respected and honored, would we shorten it to “sound cooler” or be easier to say? 

The prospective replacement for our mascot doesn’t even have to be a drastic change. For example, being the “Hawks” is hardly a far cry from “T-Hawks”. It won’t really have a large impact on our representation as a school. After all, it’s just one letter. 

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To come to an end, it’s honestly getting tiring hearing people talk about how they’d rather not get involved or don’t want to have opinions about the mascot because it’s “too political”. We all go to Algonquin Regional High School and are members of its student body. Therefore, we are involved in this discussion and the ultimate decision, whether we want to or not. 

The two of us don’t see why this alteration is all such a big deal to people. In recent times, change is happening all over the world and it’s time we adapt. This is our way to show that we care and acknowledge the monumental social change taking place in the country. We need to take things one step at a time. So gear up everyone, because this year’s mascot committee is expected to reach a conclusion soon. Hopefully, it’ll be one that puts an end to this seemingly eternal debate that has clouded Algonquin High for years.