Update for the Community on Mascot Selection and Rebranding Project
April 21, 2021; Message Originally Sent to All RTSD Families Via SchoolMessenger Alert System
Dear RTSD Families,
We are writing to ensure you aware of focus groups we are hosting to gather feedback on new nickname/logo options for Radnor High School and Radnor Middle School. Information on these focus groups has been shared on our website and elsewhere, however we wanted to contact our families directly about these opportunities.
The virtual community focus groups will be held this Thursday, April 22 at 6:30 p.m. and Friday, April 23 at 9 a.m. You can register for either session here. The deadline to register has been extended to Thursday, April 22 at 12 p.m.
As many of you are aware, at a Board meeting on August 4, 2020, hundreds of public comments were heard concerning the previous “Raiders” nickname and related Native American imagery. On September 2, 2020, the Board meeting was reconvened, and the School Board voted to remove the past RHS nickname “Raiders” and all Native American imagery from the school and district. Once that vote was taken to remove the imagery and name, the Board tasked the administration to develop an inclusive process to select a new nickname/logo.
In hopes of bringing the community together in the process of selecting a new nickname/logo, the administration created a stakeholder committee and purposely included students and community members with strong and differing views about the removal of the past nickname and related imagery.
The committee spent the majority of its first two meetings (Feb. 18 and 25) discussing why the Board’s decision was made to remove the past nickname and imagery, and how does the committee move forward understanding that a decision has been made and that the committee’s purpose is to select a new nickname/logo for RHS and RMS.
As part of the process of selecting the new nickname, the committee asked the community to provide new nickname submissions from February 28 through March 12. Any community member was able to submit as many submissions as they wished since the submissions process wasn’t a voting process and was designed to gather as many potential new nicknames as possible.
Ninety-six distinct nickname suggestions were submitted. The past nickname received 992 submissions. The possible new nickname with the next highest submissions was Griffins/Gryphons with 48. You can see these totals included in the summary of the April 6 committee meeting here.
Since the purpose of the committee was to select a new nickname, submissions for the past nickname were not viable options moving forward for the work of the committee. Beginning April 6, the committee set out to discuss the reduced list of 56 eligible new nicknames with a goal of narrowing the list down to 8-10 potential names that could be shared during focus groups for community feedback.
Seven possible new nicknames were discussed during meetings on April 6, 8 and 15, with none earning the support of at least 50% of the committee to move forward under the initial nomination process (Dragons, Griffins, Maroons/Reds/Crimson, Phoenix, Raptors, Revolution, Ruckus). Unfortunately, after three 90-minute meetings, the initial nomination process only yielded one new potential option: "No Nickname, RHS and RMS would simply be known as “Radnor” represented by an "R."
Once the committee’s initial process didn’t succeed in identifying 8-10 options for new nicknames, a second process was implemented in which individual committee members were asked to complete an online survey where they would select seven new nickname options out of the list of 56. This second process was meant to help the committee reach one of its goals stated at the group’s inception: to move forward at least eight new nickname options for the community and student focus groups. The seven highest ranking names were added to the one option selected in the first process.
Based on the two processes used, the new nickname options that the committee moved forward for focus group feedback are (in alphabetical order): Dragons, Griffins/Gryphons, Hawks, No Nickname (RHS and RMS would simply be known as “Radnor” represented by an "R”), Phoenix, Rain Frogs, Raptors, and Ruckus.
We are excited to invite community members and students to participate in the focus groups and provide their thoughts on these new nickname options, as well as to learn more about the complete list of 56 eligible new nicknames and the process that led us to the eight options.
All the feedback received in the focus groups will be given to the committee so the committee can then narrow the options to two to three to then be voted on by students in grades 8-12. The new nickname option that receives the most student votes will be moved on to the School Board for final review and approval, currently scheduled for the June 22, 2021 Board Business Meeting.
We know this is a lot of information, but we wanted to share a thorough update on this project with our families. We’ve also provided links below where you can learn more about the project and committee if interested. Again, the link to register for the upcoming community focus groups can be accessed here.
Dan Bechtold and Michael Petitti
Mascot Selection and Rebranding Committee Co-Chairs