Tongue, who argued for “pride,” “community” and “tradition,” said she was disappointed by the board’s decision, but felt her petition of more than 700 signatures was a success, given she had little time and that there is not much community activity in the village in the winter months.
Before the vote, Peg Odell, mother of CCS students, applauded the board.
“Athletes are playing for their school, playing for their team, playing for their family. They are not playing for their mascot,” she said.
Chad Welch, CCS Alumni Association vice president, attended the meeting and spoke. Welch said he has been participating in several meetings held by Schifano’s committee during the past month because the association’s president, Ryan Miosek, has been away on business a lot. He said the association has not been supporting one side or the other, but served as a gateway of information, mostly through its Facebook page.
“It has been a delicate balance trying to manage the sharing of opinions without taking sides,” he said. “It is very clear that there are people on both sides of the issue. There are people who honor and respect the name for what it is and not what it could imply and there are people who think there are reasons it should change.”
According to school officials, the process began when students discussed their concerns with the nickname with administration and board members.
Officials then began the process of reviewing the potentially negative message associated with the term. The topic was publicly broached at the Jan. 16 board of education meeting.
Following that meeting Cooperstown Student Council members were asked to assist with gathering suggestions and feedback for potential alternatives to the nickname. Students in grades seven through 12 were given the opportunity to weigh in.
The five names that received the most student votes were Coyotes, Deerslayers, Hawkeyes, Pathfinders and Wolves.
Hebert has said more than one individual has brought up using the nickname Husky, which was the former Hartwick school mascot.