Hillsborough School Board could approve new mascot for Chamberlain Chiefs next week

Students helped select the new name over the last few months.

click to enlarge The Chamberlain High School Legacy Alliance also shared the Storm logo saying that it was the schools selection, although the school board has not approved it yet. - Photo via CHSLegacy/Facbook
Photo via CHSLegacy/Facbook
The Chamberlain High School Legacy Alliance also shared the Storm logo saying that it was the schools selection, although the school board has not approved it yet.
Next week, the Hillsborough County School Board is scheduled to consider a new mascot for the Chamberlain Chiefs.

According to the board's agenda for next Tuesday, the board will consider the high school's recommendation to change the controversial name. The board vote comes after years of local Native Americans asking for the mascot to be changed, and follows a June decision by the board to retire the Chiefs.

"Changing the mascot at Chamberlain High School will demonstrate a commitment by staff, students and alumni to respect the cultural differences and values of others," the agenda says.

Last week, students voted for a new mascot to replace the contentious "Chiefs" moniker, after considering several options that were narrowed down to three finalists: Chamberlain Cheetahs, Chamberlain Cyclones and Chamberlain Storm.

Multiple sources, including an employee at Chamberlain High, confirmed to Creative Loafing Tampa Bay that students selected Chamberlain Storm as their favorite last week and that this will be the name recommended to the school board.

The logo shows a spartan-like warrior holding lightning bolts pointing down at the words "Chamberlain Storm."

The nonprofit Chamberlain High School Legacy Alliance—a group heavily involved in goings on at the Title I school—also shared the Storm logo saying that it was the school's selection, although the school board has not approved it yet.

"A new mascot at Chamberlain has not yet been approved by the School Board," Erin Maloney, Director of Media and Public Relations for the school district wrote in an email to CL. "On September 9, a committee comprised of six students, six staff members, and two members of the alumni association used a matrix to narrow a list of potential mascots down to three clear favorites. The Board members will vote for the new mascot a week from today at their Board meeting."

Wiley also said that the Board item was a result of a request from the Title VI Native American Parent Advisory Council in accordance with School Board Policy 2900, which calls for board approval for any school's mascot change.

In the selection process for the new mascot, the Student Government Association at Chamberlain created a timeline to ensure that all stakeholders were properly informed about the move to a new logo and had an opportunity to submit suggestions and vote for their favorite mascot.

An external consultant was hired to facilitate the initial survey that was given to students, staff, alumni, and community members.  Suggestions for new mascot names were also provided by the respondents. The consultant narrowed the list of mascots and presented the principal with seven possibilities, which were narrowed to the final three.

Last year,  Shannon Durant, chairperson of the Title VI Parents Advisory group told CL that the mascot issue is about appropriation of culture, and whitewashing the history of suffering Native people have faced in the United States.

“Chamberlain used to do a whole Native American homecoming, where their homecoming court would dress up as little females in the buckskin dresses, and the boys that were on the homecoming court would dress in buckskin shirts with the war bonnets,” Durant, who is of the west coast’s Mechoopda Tribe said. “And the principal would also dress up in this outfit."

About The Author

Justin Garcia

Justin Garcia previously wrote for the USA Today Network, The Economic Hardship Reporting Project, Scalawag Magazine, and various other news outlets. When he's not writing, Justin likes to make music, read, play basketball and spend time with loved ones. 

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