The following is a news release from Teton School District 401. Information courtesy of EastIdahoNews.com.
After four rounds of voting, it’s official. Students have chosen the new Teton High School Mascot — Timberwolves.
Students in grades 8-12 participated in the online polling, using their TSD email account to submit votes.
Members of the THS Student Council were involved in reviewing the data, discussing the results, and helping to get the word out to students.
Timberwolves beat out 15 other suggestions, with the number of options decreasing in each round of voting. Some of the mascot names originally voted on were those of other 3A schools in Idaho (Badgers, Eagles, Grizzlies, Wildcats, Wolverines.) Eventually ruled out were Bison (the mascot of TSD’s Basin High School), Mustangs (the mascot of Teton Middle School), and the no-mascot suggestion, “We Are Teton.”
Finalists were Raptors and Yeti; others in the running were Trappers, Mountaineers, Thunder, Bruins, and Hawks.
The process moved quickly once the Teton School District Board of Trustees gave its unanimous approval at its May Meeting to a process suggested a few months prior from the mascot committees formed last year. In the plan, community members first nominated suggestions; the selection committee then reviewed the ideas based on criteria developed over several months and published with the nomination form; and students voted online until a majority vote was reached.
The new name replaces Redskins, which had symbolized Teton High for decades.
Graduating seniors included a Redskin Memorial Display Case as one of their two gifts as the Class of 2020. The Education Foundation of Teton Valley raised about $39,000 to fund the first phase of the transition, which is expected to begin soon.
TIMELINE OF TETON HIGH MASCOT CHANGE
- March 11, 2019: Public comment asks TSD 401 board to consider changing the mascot
- July 8, 2019: School Board hears public comments
- July 16, 2019: School Board makes the decision to retire the Redskins
- Sept 16, 2019: School Board approved a motion that the cost to change the mascot not be borne by taxpayers
- Oct 9, 2019: Three volunteer committees were formed, led by a member of the Teton Administrative team — one to figure out a way to select the new mascot, one for retiring the mascot and financing the transition, and one on education. Each committee initially had 18 members and represented a broad spectrum of opinions
- February 10, 2020: First presentation to the board of plan to choose a new mascot
- May 11, 2020: School Board approves process as presented in February to enable community nominations, selection committee review, and students to vote
- May 12-26, 2020: Mascot nominations open; 1,629 ideas were received from the general public
- May 27, 2020: Selection committee reviewed all nominations for meeting criteria and gave students a list with 17 suggestions
- May 28, 2020: THS Student Council and THS administrators met. StuCo eliminated one name as insensitive to students who had lost family members to Avalanche. They created the first ballot of 16 names, asking students to select their top 5, in order of preference; 312 votes were received
- June 2, 2020: Round 2 of voting began, with 11 names; students chose their top 2; 285 votes were received
- June 8, 2020: Round 3 of voting began, with 6 names; students chose their top 2; 285 votes were received
- June 12, 2020: Round 4 of voting began, with 3 names; students asked for a revised ballot with 2 forms of Raptors (as a bird of prey and a dinosaur) to eliminate confusion. The ballot was resent that same day. 440 votes were received between the 2 surveys with students choosing their favorite. 53% of students replying to both surveys voted in favor of Timberwolves
- Homecoming 2020: As recommended by the retirement/finance committee, an official event will retire the Redskins name and a community celebration will be held for the new mascot