Thursday, December 7, 2023

Cobras proposed as replacement for Chief mascot

The Canton Cobras may be the future while the Canton Chiefs will remain part of the history of the Canton High School.

While protests from parents and alumni have accompanied the effort to change the Canton Chiefs mascot and logo, members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education heard the first reading of an official name change during their meeting last month. If board members agree with the proposed change, it could be formally adopted following a second public reading.

The change was first proposed by a group of students who argued that the Chiefs could be interpreted by other students as racially biased. After more than a year, and a second effort by students to have the name changed, members of the board agreed to retire the Canton High School Chief mascot and logo. The 6-1 vote of the board members resulted in an ongoing recall effort against those members who voted in favor of the change.

Hal Heard, Plymouth Canton Community Schools director of high school education said students were asked earlier this year to submit suggestions for a new mascot. While 279 suggestions were received, 55 of those were eliminated as they suggested the current Chiefs designation. Students also suggested cardinals, cougars, coyotes, chargers and several other suggestions. 

The suggestions were reviewed by a group of students to ensure the new logo and mascot was compliant with school district requirements and criteria. The students winnowed the suggestions to 10 names and Canton High School students and future students voted on those suggestions. The Cobras was the choice of 53 percent of the student votes, officials said. Cardinals received 29 percent of the vote while the coyotes received 17 percent of the vote.

Only about 1,100 students voted in the balloting.

Canton High School Principal David Reed-Nordwall said voting was the choice of students. “We didn't mandate or force all students to do it, so they also had the option not to participate,” he said. 

Superintendent of Schools Monica Merritt said the cost to change the mascot and logo would be about $213,000. While some of that expense might be funded by grants, there is no guarantee of any forthcoming grant money.

“I want to emphasize that in recommending a new mascot, we are embracing our future,” Heard said during the meeting. “It does not change our history or legacies tied to the retired Chiefs mascot. The winning seasons, records, plaques and other positive memories will remain. The school colors of red and white will also remain.”