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June 30, 2021

Radnor selects new school nickname after removal of former mascot, Native American imagery

The township's high school and middle school will now be known as the Raptors starting this upcoming academic year

Education Schools
Radnor High School nickname Google/Street View

The Raider nickname had been attributed to Radnor High School since at least 1934, and the school's mascot made its first official appearance in 1964.

An almost year-long process to change Radnor Township High School's nickname and logo has all but come to a conclusion after school board officials unanimously approved a new mascot for the institution on Tuesday.

After over 85 years of being called the Raiders, Radnor Township High School's new mascot will be the Raptors starting this upcoming academic year. Radnor's middle school will also adopt the new nickname and logo.

The Raptors nickname, which school district officials said will serve as an overarching term for "birds of prey," was selected in part because of an owl that has been depicted on the Radnor High School crest dating back to the 1930s. Additionally, the red-tailed hawk is native to Radnor and the surrounding area, according to a presentation made before Tuesday's vote.

The process to rebrand Radnor High School's nickname and logo began last August at a school board meeting, where advocates argued in a presentation that concerns over the school's Raiders nickname and Native American logo had existed since at least 2006.

The nickname had been attributed to Radnor High School since at least 1934, and the school's mascot made its first official appearance in 1964. Native American imagery began appearing around the school as early as 1968.

The Native American mascot costume that was previously worn at high school athletic events was "retired" in 2013, school district officials said

The school board then voted last September to remove the high school's Raiders nickname and mascot, as well as all Native American imagery from the school district. The board later reaffirmed their decision in a separate vote in May.

But not everyone was in agreement with the decision. A group of students walked out of the high school in April to protest the mascot change, according to 6ABC. Some attendees of Tuesday night's school board meeting spoke out against the decision too.

The Mascot Selection and Rebranding Project was officially approved by district officials in January. A 40-member Mascot Selection and Rebranding Committee was formed and began meeting over the course of several months to gather input and information on a new nickname and logo through surveys, focus groups, branding and design experts, school archives and other historical references.

The committee consisted of current and former students, parents of current and former students and current and former school staffers. 

The goal of the committee was to help find a new nickname and logo by the end of the school year that aligned with the institution's maroon and white colors, translated to identifiable branding, exuded positive qualities, promoted school pride, honored Radnor history and traditions, represented all stakeholders and reflected the values and standards of the school district.

After opening up suggestions to the school community in February, the committee received more than 1,315 submissions. Of those, 96 were considered distinct, and 57 were then deemed eligible for consideration.

The candidate pool was then trimmed down to eight for feedback from focus groups. Four finalists advanced to the first round of student voting in early June, which saw "Raptors" and "R" outpace "Ruckus" and "Griffins/Gryphons" in support.

More than 55% of students — which amounts to roughly 1,000 kids in grades 8-12 — then voted to make Raptors their new mascot. A little more than 44% voted for "R" as the new nickname and logo. 

The school board will now work with an approved branding firm to begin designing the new Raptors logo, order new athletic uniforms and continue removing and replacing instances of the Raiders nickname and Native American logo.

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