PV students share thoughts on mascot controversy

Abby Shapiro and Ava DeVincenzo


(Editor’s Note: Last February, the PV Student Publication sent a survey to Pascack Valley students and faculty. Respondents were asked several questions pertaining to the now-retired school mascot, the Indian. Please note that this survey was sent out before the Board of Education’s decision to remove the Indian mascot was made in June, and all statistics displayed in the gallery above were gathered from last year’s survey. Some information in the pie charts above may not pertain to PV’s current mascot situation.

The PV Student Publication sent another survey to PV students this February, following the selection of the new mascot, the Panthers. The new mascot was selected by students and faculty, who voted on three options: Panthers, Green Wave, and Hawks. All quotes displayed below are in response to this year’s survey. In this installment of our “What’s in a Name?” coverage package, Staff Editors Abby Shapiro and Ava DeVincenzo explore community members’ opinions on PV’s mascot controversy.) 

This was handled entirely in the wrong way. Not only did students not have a say in removing the Indian mascot, but the general student population wasn’t made aware of the three naming options until 2 days before the vote, which gave no time for the student body to make suggestions or give feedback on the selection (not that the committee would have listened anyway).”

— Senior Anakin Rybacki

I believe that mascots are supposed to be animals, not people. We called them Indians when the correct term was Native Americans. Indians are from India….. No school would have a mascot called the Blacks or the Asians. So why is the Indians ok? It’s not.”

— Junior Grace Olson

I didn’t [vote for a mascot] because the new options do not represent our school. ”

— Senior Lauren Morrissey

I am very against keeping Indians, however, I and many others think all 3 choices were very dumb – it was not a matter of what we liked most, it was what we disliked least.”

— Sophomore Ryan Campbell

[Panthers is] alright as a new mascot (I definitely think there were better choices that were eliminated early on in the process though)—my main issue with the mascot is how it was selected. The entire school should have had the opportunity to voice its opinion and vote when choosing the 3 options.”

— Senior Danny Finch

I came from a middle school where the Hawks logo was used and I would like to have a different mascot to separate my two experiences. Also, the alliteration of “Pascack Panthers” is nice.”

— Junior Danielle Braune

The Indians were a perfect fit [for our school’s mascot]. Pascack Valley Indians should be looked at in a positive light whereby adopting [the Indian] name is a way of honoring them for their strength. The Indians were never in any way bad until now. You guys are trying to ruin our history but you can’t.”

— Freshman Rae Torchio

I thought the selection process was very efficient and well organized. I know that everyone on the committee was working very hard to please everyone in Pascack Valley, which is a hard task to do since everyone at PV has such different viewpoints on sensitive topics.”

— Sophomore Maura O'Flynn

There is absolutely no good reason for us to be the Panthers; I have never seen a panther in the Pascack Valley area in my entire life. They have nothing to do with PV.”

— Junior John Devaney

I think [the new mascot is] great, I am pleased that it won. I think it will be great to represent [PV], and the alliteration sounds nice too!”

— Sophomore Emilia Liguori

We’ve been the Indians for forever and there’s no point in changing it, as the Indian held no power of offense in its name and represented our town’s history hundreds of years ago. It’s a tradition.”

— Junior Nicholas Marchese

I think it wasn’t important to change the mascot; I think it was kinda unnecessary. But, I’m glad they let everyone vote on it, instead of just the [Board of Education] picking the mascot because the mascot is the school name or spirit so the students should have a choice.”

— Senior Zach Lowe

I chose Panthers because I felt that the other two [options] weren’t good representations of our school. Green Wave can seem weird to anyone who doesn’t know much about where the mascot name is derived from, and [Hawks] is too common (example: Holdrum Middle School’s mascot is also a Hawk).”

— Sophomore Minche Kim

I think that a mascot should most certainly never be a minority group unless it is honoring or educating students and the community about them.”

— Senior Sam Topolosky