The Nokomis school district has opened a contest for all students, artists and community members to come up with a new “visual identity” logo to accompany the mascot “Warriors” name for sports teams. The contest was launched Oct. 8.

The Regional School Unit 19 community discussed the “Warriors” nickname when construction of the new Nokomis Regional High School and combined Middle School began last year.

The name “Nokomis,” said to be the name of Nanabozho’s grandmother in Ojibwe traditional tribal stories, would stay; but the American Indian image would be dropped, RSU 19 Superintendent Mike Hammer said in September.

“This would be a new image for the warriors,” Hammer said via email on Monday. “We will still be the warriors. The board will vote to accept what we get for submissions.”

The school district, covering the eight towns of Corinna, Dixmont, Etna, Hartland, Newport, Palmyra, Plymouth and St. Albans, is moving forward with construction of a $53 million combined Nokomis school with a 300-seat auditorium, two cafeterias, two gymnasiums, science laboratories, a music room and an art room.

The district plans to replace the Native American mascot of the Nokomis Warrior, much as the Wells school committee did earlier this year, leaving only Skowhegan Area High School, with its nickname “Indians,” as the last school in Maine using Native American imagery.

Brent Colbry, the superintendent of schools in the Skowhegan district, said in September that there has been no action to change the name or to drop any Native American imagery. Colbry did not immediately return an email on Monday for an update on the issue.

Hammer said in September that he believes that the Native American imagery as a sports mascot is offensive to some people. He said the name can be a newer or a more generic version of the term ‘warrior.’

“You have grit and determination and you fight, but you’re not necessarily a Native American warrior going out and getting into battle,” he said.

A new school and mascot naming survey was mailed to the 6,000 residents of the school district through a local weekly newspaper earlier this year, Hammer said in September. The same paper ran a front page story about the new logo contest on Oct. 8.

The original survey, which since has been taken down, also was posted on the RSU 19 website, asking people if they wanted to keep the school name “Nokomis” and the “Warriors” nickname.

Paul Willey, an RSU 19 resident, Nokomis graduate, and lifetime resident of Palmyra, said in an email to the Morning Sentinel in September that the original RSU 19 survey did not ask residents if they wanted to drop the Native American imagery. They were asked if they wanted to keep the school name and the “Warriors” nickname.

Hammer said in September that early tallies of the survey indicate “very strong results” that residents wanted to keep the name “Nokomis,” but wanted to drop the Native American image that still appears on a sign in front of the high school and on the gymnasium floor.

The contest for the “new visual identity” could replace that image.

“Depending on the chosen logo it will be our new logo replacing anything else we currently use or have used in the past,” Hammer said Monday, adding that it would replace the old imagery.

“RSU 19 is looking for a new visual identity and needs your help,” according to a new announcement on the district’s web site and in the story printed in The Rolling Thunder Express weekly newspaper on Oct. 8. “We are seeking someone who can design a creative, innovative, and professional logo for the Nokomis Warriors.”

The RSU 19 Board of Directors and members of the school community will select the winner of the contest. Submissions will be accepted through Monday Nov. 19.

The winning logo may be featured on the district website and social media platforms along with other mediums, such as stationery, pamphlets, T-shirts and athletic wear.

The “Warriors” theme ideally will be burgundy, white and gold, but black and white or grayscale renditions will do for initial submissions. The logo cannot contain copyrighted material and must have been created and edited by the contestant. The new logo may not include images or licensed images that have been previously published and must easily be reproduced and scalable for large and small formatting.

Nokomis Regional High School, built in 1968, and three RSU 19 middle schools are to be housed all together in the new school, expected to open in August 2019.

The old high school will be demolished to make way for expanded athletic fields. The new combined school is being built across the road from the current high school and middle school. The expected enrollment is 600 students in each school. The entire project is state-funded.

For more details on submitting an entry for the contest, go to the district’s web site www.rsu19.org. There is no fee to enter the contest.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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