PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Taconic High School is seeking a new name and mascot and is looking to the community for inspiration.
The School Committee a year ago voted to change 50-year-old team mascot and begin the process of determining a new, more culturally acceptable identity for the vocational school.
The Taconic teams had been known as the Braves and used a logo with a Native American. Officials decided it was time to retire the outdated mascot, following the lead of numerous other schools and professional teams that have used Native American imagery.
The school district has enlisted the services of Heard Strategy & Storytelling, a marketing and communications services agency, which offered pro bono rebranding services to any Massachusetts high school that made the decision to change its mascot. To date, five schools, including Taconic, have taken the offer.
"We're thrilled to begin the important work of making our school and our mascot representative of everyone in the district," said Principal Matthew Bishop. "We're excited to see what ideas the community has during the open survey portion of the process."
Working with members of the Taconic High School Mascot Subcommittee, Heard recently helped engineer a strategy of compiling community input for a period of time, with the goal of distilling that data into actionable items so the subcommittee can make further decisions and recommendations.
The online public survey opens Wednesday, Oct. 7, and will remain open for two weeks. The survey can be accessed via the link on the Taconic High School website or here.
Following the collection of responses received from the survey, the subcommittee will begin narrowing the choices to a smaller list of finalists in anticipation of presenting them to the student body and School Committee for an eventual vote.
The rebranding process will take several months to complete. Starting with the community survey, school officials are hopeful to have a new mascot unveiled by the end of 2021.
Students, alumni, and Pittsfield community members are encouraged to participate in the survey in an effort to reach the goal of establishing a new name and mascot that is relevant and relatable to both current students and alumni, as well as portray a positive, uplifting image.
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PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) recently released its enrollment data for fall 2021 — a season still impacted by COVID-19, but with a growing number of first-year and continuing students.
Key findings include:
Overall enrollment is up 1.4 percent over 2020
The first-year student population is up 16.4 percent
Continuing students are up 3.9 percent
Full-time equivalent (FTE) students are down 1.2 percent
Readmitted students (those who leave college for less than a year and reapply) are down 27.27 percent
The number of non-degree-seeking students has also grown, largely due to BCC's Early College program, which offers up to 15 free college credits to high school juniors and seniors. BCC has increased the number eligible students for the program.
"I'm thrilled that our new student and continuing student numbers are up. The BCC team has worked so hard to create an environment during the pandemic in which students could continue to thrive," said Adam Klepetar, BCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "We continue to operate successfully in a very challenging enrollment environment, with decreases in the number of high school graduates and increases in competition."
William Cameron, Mark Brazeau, Vicky Smith, Alison McGee, Sara Hathaway, Daniel Elias, and William Tyer covered a number of topics ranging from staff wages and building improvements to Taconic High School's mascot change and the recent superintendent selection process.
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The six-term representative said the people of the Berkshire district deserve a dedicated advocate in the Senate. He cited the devastation that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on its communities and small businesses and how it widened the divide between the wealthy and those struggling to put food on... click for more
The forum was held at the Berkshire Athenaum as a partnership between iBerkshires.com and Pittsfield Community Television. It was moderated by iBerkshires Executive Editor Tammy Daniels and Pittsfield Bureau Chief Brittany Polito.
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William Garrity of Taconic High School and Elodie Theriault of Pittsfield High School received the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents Certificate of Academic Excellence.
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