LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Lake George Central School District is joining in the statewide effort to move on from indigenous mascots and logos in New York schools. Last week, the school Board of Education met to talk about what’s next for the former “Warriors.”
“We worked really closely with our Student Advisory Committee in our last meeting,” said Lake George High School Principal Fran Cocozza, at the board’s meeting on May 9. “We spent the majority of the time talking about what they want for proposed next steps. They felt passionately that this should be a student-forward process – that students should be at the forefront of this – and one of the first things we talked about was getting in front of the students of Lake George.”
Members of the Student Advisory Committee came before the board to talk about their work. The student group met twice in April, first to talk about Native American perspectives and consult with regional indigenous voices; and second, to discuss making the mascot change happen in time. The state has called for the removal of all Native American logos and mascots by the end of the 2022-23 school year, with the complete establishment of replacements in place by 2025.
Also presented before the board was a large amount of research into the school district’s history. Like many longstanding districts, Lake George didn’t always use the title of “Warriors.” Two significant previous names stood out in research performed by students and faculty. One was the “Lakers,” alongside an “LG” logo, established alongside the current high school’s construction in the 1920s. The other, adopted in the 1940s, was the “Georgians.”
Two stages now lie ahead for Lake George. First, the district is presenting the history of Lake George’s mascots and logos – a presentation seen by faculty the prior week. Once that’s done, Lake George students, teachers, and community members will be asked to answer a question: Lakers, Georgians, or something new?
“Really, we want the feedback from all of our stakeholders in that,” said Cocozza. “We’ve learned about the two nicknames that we’ve had – Georgians and Lakers – so the question will be quite simple.”
The survey will be made available by QR code. Results will be gathered, and the next steps chosen from there. If the majority of those surveyed like the idea of bringing back a name from Lake George’s past, the school will pick whichever name gets more votes. If the voices of Lake George say it’s time for something new, then a new phase begins, to figure out what that new identity should be.
The current “Warriors” name and logo show up in more places than sports team uniforms. A work of student art referencing the theme is being considered for donation to the Warren County Historical Society. The high school gymnasium floor will have to have its current decor removed.
A community forum on the change to come is set for next Tuesday, May 23, starting at 7 p.m. at the Lake George High School Auditorium. A decision from survey results will be announced on June 5, and brought to the Board of Education on June 13.
Several North Country schools have sought a new direction and identity as a result of the state mandate. Last month, Glens Falls announced the new mascot of the “Black Bears,” dropping the title of “Indians.” Corinth recently announced the switch from “Tomahawks” to “River Hawks.”
The Lake George region has a close relationship with Native American history, having played roles in the French & Indian War, as well as the Revolutionary War – with landmarks like Battlefield Park and Fort William Henry keeping the memory alive. The village and town of Lake George sit on Mohawk, Haudenosaunee, Mohican, and Abenaki land, according to native-land.ca.