From Raiders to Red Hawks: BHS’ Search For a New Mascot Comes to a Close

Former+%27Red+Raider%27+logo+displayed+on+Robert+J.+Conway+building.

Photo by Abby Olsen

Former ‘Red Raider’ logo displayed on Robert J. Conway building.

Abby Olsen, Staff Writer

In August of 2020, Barnstable High School began its search for a new mascot to replace the “Red Raider” and now, seven months later, they have made their decision. 

At the Mar. 17 school committee meeting, the subcommittee unanimously voted for the Red Hawks to officially become BHS’s new mascot. This mascot came as a suggestion from school committee member Barbara Dunn on behalf of the subcommittee that she heads, the Community Engagement Committee. 

The final tally for the survey that the subcommittee sent out to BHS and Barnstable Intermediate school students on Feb. 25 showed the Red Hawks to be the winner at 59% of the vote with the Ravens trailing behind at 22.3% and the Hurricanes at 18.7%. With over 1,300 student responses, this result was resoundingly clear. This wasn’t the first time in the mascot choosing process that the Red Hawks had an overwhelming lead though; Dunn mentioned that in the community-wide survey that was sent out at the end of October, the Red Hawk mascot was mentioned by many and it became apparent that it was a fan favorite.

Senior Phoebe Gibson said she is very pleased with the outcome of the survey. As a member of the community engagement committee herself, Gibson is passionate about the change, “It’s pretty amazing to me that people are really unaware that this is happening. This process started with the Native Americans years ago when they were saying that they wanted [the mascot] changed.” 

The work of the community engagement committee does not end with the presentation of the new mascot though. The subcommittee has already been in touch with art department head Matthew Kemp and graphic design teacher Blaine Bacchiocchi, to move forward with creating a logo and imagery for the mascot. Dunn said she is excited to share that this next step will involve students’ work and designs and ultimately will be sent to a design firm so they can finalize the student logo that is selected.

With this change to a new name, BHS is given the opportunity to have a mascot with no constraints. “We could never have a mascot at sports games and you could never walk around the hall being a ‘raider,’ it was very limiting I think,” said Gibson about not being able to express true pride for the Red Raider mascot because of the negative connotations that it held. 

Psychology teacher and BHS alumni Kevin Hill recalled that there were no concerns over the Red Raider mascot when he was a student that he can recall, “To be honest it was a different time when there wasn’t as much attention on issues like this, but it’s certainly important that we address negative and harmful stereotypes associated with these mascots,” said Hill, “I know that there has been controversy surrounding [the Red Raider mascot], both on the local and national level, so my hope is that the entire community will embrace our new mascot.” 

For the actual transition from Raider to Red Hawk, Superintendent Meg Mayo-Brown will be accountable for overseeing the changes that are made to team uniforms and other school-related property where the mascot name and logo appear  

“I think that we’ve tried to acknowledge that the change would be hard, but as time goes on hopefully there will be unity around the Red Hawks and excitement,”  said Dunn.