Okemos Student Committee Recommends Wolves as New Mascot Name
Okemos High School Entrance Sign
OKEMOS, MI - Okemos Public School’s district and student mascot change committees announced their final recommendation at the Jan. 24 board meeting.
Both the district and student committee unanimously agreed to recommend the Okemos “Wolves” as the new district mascot.
“This recommendation comes with significant support from the student and district committee,” John Hood, Superintendent of Schools, said.
This conversation can be traced back to the 1980s when the Okemos Public Schools nickname and logo, at the time a Native American silhouette, was first questioned. After a majority of the committee voted to phase out the ‘Chief’ and ‘Chieftains’ nickname, it was recommended that the Board of Education defer judgment. After decades of conversation, in the spring of 2021, there was a unanimous decision to move forward with the change.
The decision to change the mascot sparked up much controversy last spring, and well into the summer. Public comments were filled with upset, long-time, community members. However, after the new mascot recommendation was announced, emotions of relief ran high. Members of the board expressed their gratitude for the cooperation and hard work the students and community put into the project.
“I Just want the community to see what just took place, it’s phenomenal,” Jayme Taylor, Parliamentarian to the board, said. “We just made history.”
The process of choosing the student committee was done very carefully. When picking the committee, the board selected students consisting of all grade levels and diversities. With the help of the district committee, the students took the lead on the project.
Once receiving a surplus of initial community recommendations, the students compiled a list of requirements they felt were necessary for the decision making process. This includes keeping the Okemos Public School’s colors as an intentional link to the past, as well as prioritizing secondary school students' opinions, who will be affected the most by this change.
A $213,000 dollar grant from the Native American Heritage Fund (NAHF), the highest grant awarded by them in 2021, was given to the Okemos Public School Board that will help offset the costs of this change.
The board will make an official decision on the mascot change during the Feb. 14 meeting. The logo creation process will take place shortly after, and could potentially be finalized by April.