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Red Hawk Replaces Red and Blue, Redmen as Natick High Mascot

The vote may have been influenced by a red hawk flying through a school window last year.

A school mascot is more than a name; it's an identity, aimed to bring together the community and facilitate a sense of pride.

So when switched in 2009 from the traditional "Redmen" name to "Red and Blue," it didn't sit well with some who saw the Redmen name not as offensive, but as an identity.

It's principal Rose Bertucci's hope, however, that the newly chosen "Red Hawks" mascot will play just as large a role in the school's history. 

The second most popular choice was the Knights, which captured 22 percent of the vote.

An informal vote of eighth-graders from both middle schools also showed Red Hawks as the favorite.

"There's still a wound about the (original) name change," said Bertucci, who would not entertain the return of the Redmen, which some American Indians and other community members found offensive. "We're not taking away the years of the Redmen. They will always be embedded in Natick High's history."

To some voters, the "Red Hawks" vote may have had special meaning.

Last year, a red hawk flew through one of the high school's large glass windows.

"We've had several birds fly into the windows, and normally they perish," Bertucci said. "This one survived. We called Animal Control, which was off that day. We used a broom to get him out."

Pictures were taken of the bird. The unique event and the hawk's resiliency, Bertucci said, likely contributed to it gaining favor as a mascot among students and staff.

Other votes were divided among the Legacy, Pride, Tribe and Red and Blue.

There just wasn't much of a connection to "Red and Blue," which, Bertucci noted, "doesn't even look good on a chair."

The current nickname, which replaced the Redmen, earned only 13 of the 750 votes cast this week.

"It was time for a change," said Director of Wellness, Bob Anniballi. "The voting made it clear to me."

Anniballi praised Bertucci for keeping Chief Caring Hands, of the Natick Praying Indians Tribe, apprised of the mascot selection. The bird has significance in Native American culture.

Senior Brad Swartz noted that his class is Natick's only that will have had "Red and Blue" for all four years.

He is a supporter of the new mascot.

"Here, we have something that not only reflects our past ... but there was this event. A lot of people looked at it as symbolic," Swartz said.

Natick High alum Diane Fassino, of Fassino Design, will now come up with options for the official logo. The mascot will take effect with the opening of the new high school.

Robert Fucci (Editor) May 04, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Don't like it. In 2009 there were Native Americans who actually approved the use of Redmen, as if it were an honor. If there were a large outcry over the use by local Native Americans, I would agree it's time for a change. But there wasn't. Only a small number of people, and from what I remember most were NOT Native Americans, who had nothing better to do than cause an unnecessary stir. It's a shame.
Chris May 04, 2012 at 05:14 PM
They should have a town-wide vote and let the people who are actually paying for the $110 million dollar school have a say. It should be REDMEN but change the meaning (the team that wears Red), and change the logo. Good compromise for everyone. Natick again dropped the ball..
Melanie Chamberlin May 04, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Still lame but definately better than knights. Doubt there were any of those in the area. Doesn't show much creativity but definately a compromise and a want of putting an end the whole messy business that shouldn't have been started in the first place. I do hope that the School Dept. has gotten the go ahead from the entire hawk community. Are they sure that the "red" before Hawk will not be racist or disparaging to Hawks all over SE Mass. They must also be very careful in depicting this red hawk for the logo. Jeez what if they get the feathers wrong. They could be starting this whole mess all over again.
D.C. al Fine May 05, 2012 at 12:51 PM
The school is about $72 million. Half of that is from the state. Should there be a statewide referendum? Pffft!
D.C. al Fine May 07, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Robert Fucci, your memory is faulty. The number of natives who testified against the name was a large multiple of the number (2) who testified for it. The correspondence from natives was equally lopsided.
Michael Barrett May 07, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Yeah, the indian groups really care about the name Redmen. The only thing they care about is fighting to get a casino for their "tribe" which are that in name only. The pathetic Erin Miller was offended and went on her campaign along with a few teachers (who are some of the worst teachers in the whole school, they are incompetent). Change the name to Red men and be done with it. No uniform had any indian, so it's just a name. The Jr redmen pop warner always had the indian head but no high school teams did. Most didn't even have the name redmen on the shirts. You'd think Rose Bertucci would be more worried about the pot use, oral sex, anal sex, regular sex and drinking. Those kids at that school have more sexual experience than soft core porn stars. But Rose buries her head to that stuff and pats herself on the back for moronic stuff like this. I guess that's why public school students are so woefully unprepared for legit colleges (not quasi high schools like Framingham State, Umass, etc.) But Rose and the others are just cashing checks and waiting to collect the fat pensions.
Michael Barrett May 07, 2012 at 02:39 AM
They did a town vote a few years ago and the Redmen name was favored by something like 70%+. But the liberals on the school board know better than the people, you see they are the enlightened ones. The school board, selectmen, etc. are nearly completely stocked with idiots. Look at people like Firkins Reed, Margil, Dirk Coburn, Jay and Erica Ball, Josh Ostroff, Jennett, etc. Look at what they've "accomplished" in their careers and personal lives. They are a collection of mediocre minds and mediocre ability and past performance. There are many brilliant and capable people in Natick who would make sound decisions for the town. They have better things going on with their careers and families though. So we are stuck with the collection of two digit IQ's.
Silvio I. Mandino May 07, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Chris: I appreciated your comments regarding the Natick High mascot name change. I was the one who gave them the Redmen nickname in 1957. Unfortunately the whole situation was a case of political correctness gone made and the "Tyranny of the Minority." Unfortunately the entire incident severly divided the town. I foought the battle for almost two years. But I guess that its time to move on with my life. I guess I can live with "Red Hawks." Silvio (Butch) Mandino, NHS Class of 1956, Holliston, MA
Silvio I. Mandino May 07, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Melanie: I could not agree more with your comments. I was the individual who gave the Redmen their nickname in 1957. Unfortunately the eintire process was seized upon by a handfull of misguided individuals in town and a group of active outside adgitators. The rest is history. I guess that I can live with "Red Hawks." Silvio (Butch) Mandino, NHS Class of 1956. Holliston, MA
D.C. al Fine May 10, 2012 at 03:02 AM
It was contemptuous testimony much like your posts here, Mr. Barrett, that gave credibility to the testimony by many Indians that they were not comfortable with the name, and that their children are taught not to call each other that name because they consider it a slur. Having heard that testimony, the decision was simply a matter of good manners. The whining about it being some wort of radical ideology is frankly nuts. Obsessive. Time to get on with life. Your statements that administrators ignore the behavioral issues that occur among students in any high school, including Natick, are off the mark. But speaking of heads in the sand, you surely remember the fans in full Plains-Indian headdress. And you deny or ignore that there were indeed some uniforms on which Indian logos had to be taped over. Hold on to your contempt if you must, though I recommend you let go of it because it will shorten your life. But also try to hold on to reality and to actual facts.
mp June 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM
To D.C. Al Fine Amen. What a bunch of mean spirited and hateful commenters! Luckily the younger generation is more informed, mature, respectful and open minded -- and is embracing the 'Red Hawks' as their new identity. What a great way to celebrate the opening of our fabulous high school and a usher in a new era in Natick!

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