GUSTINE - Gustine High may soon have a mascot image to go with its “Reds” nickname.
The school is in its third year since being forced by state lawmakers to abandon its cherished “Redskins” nickname and adopted “Reds” instead, but has faced an identity crisis of sorts in the absence of an image defining the school mascot.
As ASB adviser Barbara Azevedo told the school board at its Feb. 13 meeting, the question of “what is a Red?” is one that has had no clear answer.
“We really want to have an image to associate with. We really don’t know what we are,” she stated.
“We love the ‘Reds’, but it is not really a thing,” added Julia Travis, ASB president.
Azevedo and ASB students, at the request of Principal Adam Cano, have been working to remedy the question surrounding the mascot identity.
They have met with students in general, and with sports teams, to gain feedback on four possible mascot images.
The most popular option depicts a hard-charging image of a knight, with a “Mighty Reds” theme, with a spartan emblem a very close second. Other options presented for consideration included the image of a horseman, and of a cardinal.
“We know we can’t go tribal, so that was out,” said Azevedo. “We realize that the Knights are Ripon Christian, so we are not really taking over the name, just an image.”
Board member Loretta Rose pointed out that, while the school cannot use the “Redskins” as its nickname, nothing prevents the school from using a depiction of a chief as its image.
“You just cannot use the word ‘Redskins’. That is what they were going after,” she said.
But Principal Adam Cano discouraged that option.
“That is not a road we want to go down. We want a separate image away from the Redskins,” said Cano. “I believe that we need to move on as a school.”
He reiterated the importance of creating a school identity.
“We haven’t had a face for three years. We need to get back to something that creates an image of Gustine High,” Cano remarked. “It is hard to do things on campus when you don’t have an image.”
He indicated that he supports moving forward with the image favored by the students.
“They need a mascot, no doubt about it,” said board member Pat Rocha.
Dr. Bryan Ballenger, district superintendent, told Mattos Newspapers that he supports the process used by the school in considering mascot images.
“It is a student voice,” he commented. “It is their school.”
Ballenger said the items was brought to the board for discussion, and will be brought back March 13 for consideration of formal action.