The Cooperstown Central School Board of Education did not choose a new nickname for the district at its Wednesday night meeting. However, it looks like the school will soon be calling itself the CCS Hawkeyes.
It is the name that received the most support by students, teachers and the public via surveys, and board members seem to be on board with it as long as there are no problems having two Hawkeyes in town.
Board of Education President David Borgstrom said he did not feel comfortable adopting the name before making sure there are no infringement issues or conflicts with the Cooperstown Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League team that goes by the same name.
“We would like to get a letter of understanding between the baseball club and the school,” he said.
Borgstrom added that he felt uncomfortable holding a vote without three board members present (Jean Schifano, Mary Leonard and Andrew Marietta came to the meeting late).
Superintendent C.J. Hebert agreed, and said he wanted to thank Hawkeyes’ owner and president, Tom Hickey, for his willingness to share the name.
“We certainly want to make sure that we are in no way, shape, or form are infringing on a local business and their right to own their own trademark property,” he said.
Hebert said before moving forward he believes the school does not necessarily need an “extremely formal agreement” but there should be a letter of understanding between the two entities.
He offered to reach out to Hickey.
A special meeting has been set for 6 p.m. Tuesday for board members to get together and make a final decision. There were only four people and a few media members in attendance, with no public comments about the topic.
CCS Hawkeyes, Huskies, Pathfinders and Pioneers were the final four names put out for vote.
A student survey gave a narrow win to Hawkeyes over Huskies by 17 votes. CCS Hawkeyes got 167 votes while Huskies got 150 votes. The other two options, Pathfinders and Pioneers were a distant third and fourth with 50 and 32 votes respectively. Students in grades 7-12 voted in their social studies classes; there were 399 total votes.
A concurrent staff survey of 69 teachers gave Huskies an edge over Pioneers by one vote, 23-22. Hawkeyes got 16 votes and Pathfinders got 11 votes.
Alumni and residents were encouraged to vote online through a Survey Monkey poll sponsored by the Cooperstown Alumni Association. That survey closed on Monday with Hawkeyes again being the big winner with 122 votes. Pathfinders finished second with 93 votes. Huskies and Pioneers were third and fourth with 37 and 31 votes respectively. The poll had 283 votes with about 80 percent of them coming from alumni.
The Redskins name was retired, effective on June 30, at a school board meeting in March 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.
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 Indians. A character in all five novels, Bumppo is given the name in the 1841 novel “The Deerslayer” after he kills a member of a rival Huron tribe, replacing his previous nickname, Deerslayer. Pathfinder and Leatherstocking were also names for Bumppo.
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 Borgstrom.
Huskies was 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.