HOWELL – Following a petition by a resident to have the long-standing mascot of the Howell High School mascot’s name and image replaced, a new image has been unveiled changing the mustached soldier’s face.
The Howell High School which is under the control of the Freehold Regional High School District, had changed the name of the mascot from “Rebel Yell” to simply “H” earlier this year. The mascot will no longer look like a Confederate soldier caricature.
The former mascot had a cartoonish image with a floppy cavalry hat with an extended mustache. In recent years that image had been mostly phased out according to the Freehold Regional School District who stated it would continue to take all necessary steps to remove any remaining public images of the former mascot.
Now the mascot’s facial features are now obscured in a shadow, he has a white collar which sprouts up from his neck and he is wearing a three pointed hat that features his current name of “H”.
Rather than have the appearance of confederate solider the new image now resembles that of an American Revolution Continental soldier which was the idea behind the change according to a spokeswoman for the Freehold Regional High School District.
Some residents and former students would also like to see the name of the team change as well but that is not happening.
This debate comes at a time when the country is removing statues of Columbus, taking down statues and monuments associated with the Confederacy and when Monmouth and Princeton universities have renamed buildings named after former President Woodrow Wilson because he supported segregation.
Kylie Burst, a former Howell High School student who graduated in 2012 created the new soldier image.
The search for a new mascot image started around the time when another former student, Meghan Marker, started her petition calling for the name and image change. Her petition has close to 4,000 signatures but hasn’t reached its target goal of 5,000. She was disappointed with the revision.
Marker said “the school completely missed the opportunity to adopt a new inclusive symbol for the community, but instead has opted for a mascot that not only already exists within the district, but also has no relation to the existing rebel name.”
“The change from a Confederate to a Revolutionary War soldier shows the obstinate attitude of the school and district alike and illustrates the lack of concern of the original rebel mascot’s roots. This chance would have been a bare-minimum gesture towards inclusivity but regrettably failed,” she added.
Last month, Freehold Regional High School District Communications and District Projects Coordinator Rebecca Policastro stated, “Howell High School’s team names will remain the Rebels, however, we will be working with our student body to hear their thoughts and design a new image for the school’s mascot.”
Policastro said a monument at Howell High School that was removed and had the inscription “rebel pride” and also featured the image of the rebel soldier mascot had been taken down to be refinished.