The selection process for Cooperstown's new school district nickname has entered into its own final-four phase with a winner possible by Wednesday.
Students vote today and a public poll is open through April 15 to help Cooperstown pick which of four nicknames will replace Redskins.
CCS Hawkeyes, Huskies, Pathfinders and Pioneers are the final four names. Deerslayers, which was one of five leading vote getters in a previous student survey taken in February, was taken out of the running because of alternative connotations, according to CCS Board of Education President David Borgstrom.
“I think you have to look at all the connotations to these names,” Borgstrom said. “It didn’t seem to sit well.”
Huskies is the nickname used in Hartwick before the merging of Cooperstown and Hartwick schools. The elementary schools were merged in 1976 and the high schools in 1958. Huskies was not on the previous short list of five names but replaced Wolves as a final option because of local groundswell in its favor.
“From what I have heard, I think Huskies is a relevant option,” Borgstrom said. “There are still people around from before (the merger) that remember that history. I think it was seventh or eighth (in the first student poll), but you can see how some of the names have risen and fallen in discussion over time.”
Students in seventh through 12th grade will vote during social studies class today. According to school Superintendent C.J. Hebert, the students and the board will be notified of the results of the school vote on Friday.
Community members and alumni are encouraged to submit input via a Survey Monkey poll on the Cooperstown Alumni Association’s Facebook page. It can be found at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cooperstown-Alumni-Association/143193722407644?id=143193722407644&sk=app_127709503932081. The Alumni Association has indicated it will release its results on Facebook.
It is possible a final decision will be made at Wednesday’s CCS BOE meeting.
“The board will know the students' vote by Friday and the community vote by the end of Monday,” Hebert said. “I don’t want to put words into anyone’s mouth. But they will have all the information available to them before the next board meeting.”
Borgstrom said that he has heard a variety of opinions on the name change, and understands that some feelings are still raw.
“I have heard all of those things from people,” he said. “There have been plenty of people who have said it was not enough time and that it is still not enough time. But we are trying to give people time and give people an opportunity to participate.”
CCS Hawkeyes is a distinction from the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League team the Cooperstown Hawkeyes who have indicated to CCS board members that they would share the nickname as long as it was marketed differently.
Hawkeyes, Pioneers and Pathfinders come from James Fenimore Cooper’s five-novel Leatherstocking Tales, two of which are titled “The Pathfinders” and “The Pioneers.”
Hawkeye is the most popular of the many names Cooper gave to Natty Bumppo, the white man who grew up with the Delaware. A character in all five novels, Bumppo is given the name in the 1841 novel “The Deerslayers” after he kills a member of a rival Huron tribe, replacing his previous nickname, Deerslayer. Pathfinder and Leatherstocking were also names for Bumppo.
Borgstrom said that the board wants to make the decision quickly while still allowing everyone time to react. “I think everyone realizes that only the board can make the decision,” he said. “I think one thing we have seen through this process is we need to take each step and then we need to see about reactions. So this is the next step and then we will wait and see the reaction from the students, alumni, staff and residents.
“The alumni association has done a great job organizing a device so that everyone can have a voice, and we are happy to be working with them to do this,” he continued. “And it is very important to me to hear from the current students because that is who will be affected immediately.”
The Redskins name was retired at the school board’s March meeting effective June 30 by a 6-1 vote. Anthony Scalici voted against changing the nickname. The board also voted unanimously to honor all history previous to June 30 as being for the Cooperstown Redskins.
Hebert said he is very happy with the final choices.
“I think it is great that all of the choices have local connections,” he said. “I think we are having ample opportunities for people to give their input into the choice the district has to make. We understand that everyone is not happy with making a change, but we want everyone to be able to participate in the result of choosing a new nickname.”