At its Thursday, Feb. 8 meeting, the Kingsport Board of Education heard the unanimous recommendation of a special committee tasked to examine middle school names, mascots and colors. The BOE also received the results of two sets of surveys.
Based on that input, the names and mascots of Kingsport’s two middle schools — the Ross N. Robinson Redskins and John Sevier Warriors — would remain intact when Sevier moves to the current Sullivan North High School campus in 2021.
The city system bought the Sullivan County school for $20 million, but the county doesn’t plan to vacate it until North, South and most Central students move to a new 1,700-student high school in the fall of 2020.
The BOE at its retreat last summer requested the formation of a naming committee which would receive input and make a recommendation about the names, mascots and colors of both schools.
SURVEYS, PANEL SAY KEEP MASCOTS
Both surveys and the committee had overwhelming support for keeping the Robinson Redskins and Sevier Warriors. Those schools feed into Dobyns-Bennett High School, which has the Indians mascot and promotes the whole school system as “One Tribe.”
Among the surveys, the percentages for keeping existing names, mascots and colors never fell below the low 60s.
The committee, including school board member Karen Reed-Wright, two students, school officials and others, unanimously voted last month after the Nov. 3-Jan. 8 surveys to recommend the names, mascots and colors stay the same. The board is to consider the survey results and recommendation at its retreat this summer.
SURVEYS BY THE NUMBERS
— Of 262 student survey responses at Sevier, 82.10 percent said keep the school name, 80.5 percent said keep the Warriors mascot and 74.8 percent said keep the colors of red and white.
— The community survey drew 1,181 responses for both schools. For Sevier, 74.96 percent said keep the school name, 76.24 percent said keep the Warriors and 80.12 percent said keep the colors.
— Of 654 student responses at Robinson, 77.8 percent said keep the school name, 63.4 percent said keep the Redskins mascot and 65.4 percent said keep the blue and white colors.
— Of those responding to the community survey about Robinson, 87.39 percent said to keep the name, 66.87 percent said to keep Redskins and 86.06 percent said to keep the colors.
Asked by board member Eric Hyche why markedly fewer Sevier students responded to the survey, Assistant Superintendent Andy True recounted that two students on the committee said it might have depended on the time of the school day survey offerings were made and that Sevier has fewer students than Robinson. True also said the nearly 1,200 community responses is among the highest number generated by any survey the school system has conducted.