SULLIVAN — When it comes to the mascot and colors for a new Regional School Unit 24 middle school, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
This summer, RSU 24 will break ground on a new $44-million combination high and middle school that will replace the existing Sumner Memorial High School in Sullivan.
Last fall, a 14-member naming committee formed to come up with names for the new schools. The RSU 24 School Board voted unanimously Jan. 7 to accept the committee recommendation to keep the name Sumner Memorial High School. The middle school, which will be primarily housed on the second floor of the 105,342-square-foot building, will be called Sumner Middle School. The property and building as a whole will be called the Charles M. Sumner Learning Campus.
The naming committee continued to meet in order to make a recommendation for a mascot and colors for the middle school.
“Our recommendation certainly seems pretty obvious,” committee Chairwoman Nikki Chan told the School Board at its virtual meeting April 7. “Continuing the school colors that are already at the high school would be best for the middle school.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the committee’s recommendation.
Chan, who also serves as the district’s curriculum director, said the committee surveyed students and community members for input, receiving 420 survey responses.
“In our surveys, it was clear that the community and the students really think the tigers would be best for our middle school,” Chan said. Even students who currently attend other schools with different mascots and different colors favored mimicking the high school.
The naming committee came up with other big cat-related mascot ideas, but they were not popular. One that was especially unpopular was cubs.
“That was something the student population was not in favor of,” said Chan. “Do not call us cubs. We’re not babies.”
Having the same mascot and colors will make sense financially because the school district will not have to create double signage. Families that already have blue and white tiger gear can also continue to use it without confusion.
Chan said the mascot logo for the high school could be altered somewhat for the middle school to help differentiate between them.