SKOWHEGAN — Students at Skowhegan schools will have nine options to choose from for a new school nickname: Phoenix, Riverhawks, Sturgeon, Badgers, Thunder, River Drivers, Trailblazers, Fishercats and Skowhegan.

The Support Services Committee met Thursday to finishing compiling the list of suggestions for the school district’s new mascot. This phase of the selection is part of a multi-phase process that began earlier this year.

Unlike Tuesday’s meeting, no particular name stood out as a favorite. The consensus among the group was that whatever is selected should be unique like the town itself.

Committee member Kathy Wilder kicked off the discussion, suggesting River Drivers.

“I like the thought of a mascot being unique,” Wilder said. “River Drivers stands out to me for positive reasons.”

Committee member Todd Smith agreed with Wilder’s idea of selecting something unique. He also suggested choosing ideas that would look good on a uniform and ways to incorporate music into the name. He suggested Thunder and also just keeping it Skowhegan, citing that this is what some constituents and students would prefer.

Committee chairperson Jennifer Poirier agreed with keeping the name just Skowhegan, saying that even if it’s not the group’s favorite option, it should still be included on the list for students to vote on. Some board members disagreed with this rationale.

Poirier said, “If there’s that many people saying they want it or not, it should be a choice.”

“Skowhegan was my number one choice,” Todd Smith said. “I think that there is plenty of spirit and pride in keeping it Skowhegan. It would be a disservice to not include it.”

Wilder said that keeping Skowhegan as an option would be a disservice to students and the community.

“I think the kids and community should have a mascot,” Wilder said. “I don’t see how you can build team and school spirit if you’re just Skowhegan. It would be a disservice to the student body and community at large to not have a mascot.”

Sarah Bunker added that keeping the name Skowhegan wouldn’t give students that live in other towns in the district proper representation. Maine School Administrative District 54 serves Canaan, Cornville, Mercer, Norridgewock, Smithfield and Skowhegan.

“Having the perspective of outside towns … it might feel a little more exclusive to just identify as Skowhegan,” Bunker said.

The board of directors will convene Aug. 6 to go over the details before sending digital surveys on the nine options to students.

“Giving them a lot of options is a good idea. There are a lot of good minds who may see things a different way than we do. We might view some of these different than students,” Poirier said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Education Policy/Planning Committee settled on four suggestions: Phoenix, Riverhawks, Sturgeon and Badgers.

Each subcommittee member was asked to arrive at the meeting with a list of up to 10 names taken from last week’s suggestions.

The process of soliciting ideas for a new team name began Jan. 15 with a multi-step process after the “Indians” nickname was retired. The mascot selection process was temporarily halted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 1,627 suggestion forms received from the community, the board was presented with 147 options, listed in three categories: inappropriate, not recommended and recommended.

Next, students in grades six through 12 will give their feedback on the nine suggestions.

After that, the two committees will review the students’ input and make final recommendations to the board, which will then make the final decision.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

Kennebec Journal & Morning Sentinel news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.