The Mason City school board unanimously voted Monday night to approve the River Hawks as the high school’s new mascot after the board did away with the Mohawk as mascot last year. Mason City high school, Student Senate, whittled down numerous suggestions for a new mascot to three – the River Hawks, the Majors, and the Monarchs. More than 60-percent of the students voted for the River Hawks. Principal Dan Long commended student leaders for their effort on the mascot issue.
School board member Katherine Koehler thanked the Student Senate for leading the way in determining the next mascot.
Board member Brent Seaton says it was impressive that the students have played a central role in the matter, and now any community feedback should not be directed towards them but the school board.
Several people spoke during the open forum section at the start of the meeting, before the decision was made, with most of the speakers voicing their opposition to the mascot change. Tom Stalker is head of the “Save the Mohawk Name” group. He says River Hawks might be offensive when considering the school board’s criteria to change the Mohawk name.
Stalker and other speakers said during the meeting that school board member Carol Dettmer stated in December that she could easily produce a letter from the St. Regis Mohawk tribal community, stating they were against the use of the Mohawk name, with one speaker saying Dettmer admitted to her recently that she couldn’t produce a letter. Stalker says that’s because the St. Regis Mohawks have not taken a formal stance on the issue.
The student vote was 61.4% percent for the River Hawks, 20.1% for the Majors, and 19 % for the Monarchs.