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    Wednesday, June 12, 2024

    Montville unveils new school logo, nickname

    The new logo for Tyl Middle School and Montville High School, which was unveiled by High School Principal Robert Alves to the Board of Education Thursday night. (Image provided by Robert Alves)

    Montville ― Meet the Montville Wolves.

    High School Principal Robert Alves unveiled the new mascot for Leonard J. Tyl Middle School and Montville High School to the Board of Education Thursday night.

    Each school had been referred to as “Montville” for the last year after the board unanimously decided that the district’s athletic teams would no longer be called "the Indians." The schools removed all Native American symbols from their respective logos and replaced them with a T or M.

    The new logo is an orange “M” inside of a black circle, with the silhouette of a howling wolf inside of the “M”. The circle reads “Montville” across the top and “Wolves” across the bottom.

    “We are really excited to do this and really excited to continue to bridge the gap between buildings and between schools,” Alves said Thursday night.

    The two schools will have a joint celebration for the new mascot at the high school turf field Friday afternoon.

    The school board was faced with the decision to change the district’s logo and nickname after a state law passed in 2021 would withhold Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan Fund grants from communities that continued to use Native American logos, names and mascots without permission of local tribes.

    The Mashantucket Pequot and Mohegan tribes send a portion of their slot machine revenues to the state which are then distributed through the fund to municipalities.

    Montville faced losing $1.4 million in funding if it continued to use the Indian logo and name. The board had to inform the state of the district's intent to change the nickname unless it had written permission from the Mohegan tribe to keep the name, which it did not receive.

    “I couldn’t be prouder of the process and am thrilled where we ended,” Superintendent Laurie Pallin said Thursday.

    Alves explained that the mascot search process began in October and included four forums to discuss the issue. The entire community, including parents and the Mohegan tribe, was involved in selecting the new name, though the process was driven by students in grades six through 12.

    Alves said the question “What’s the best way to represent Montville?” was the guiding question for the process as the community looked for a way to symbolize the school’s identity while maintaining a relevant connection to the town. A vote was held on March 17 where Wolves beat out the rest of the field, including Tigers.

    No another school in the Eastern Connecticut Conference is named the Wolves, another reason for the choice.

    Alves explained the student body determined that wolves represent a “pack that sticks together,” with qualities of power, leadership, teamwork, friendship and loyalty. He said the school maintains a connection to the Mohegan Tribe, who are also known as the wolf people, in a positive light and represents the history of wolves in the area, which he said were hunted to extinction in the 1700s.

    Mohegan Elementary previously received approval to keep its name and its logo of a wolf.

    Though intimidating, Alves said the new mascot symbolizes strength and confidence. He added that the student section at sporting events can be called the “wolf pack” and can sit in the “wolf den.”

    The board was given T-shirts, the first apparel with the new mascot. The front of the shirt features the new logo while the back reads “The strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack.”

    Montville’s mascot change is a stark contrast to the actions of Killingly High School, a fellow ECC school.

    Killingly High School is one of three schools in the state, including Canton High School and Windsor High School, that refused to give up their Native American-related names or mascots and lost state funding as a result. None of the three schools received permission from local tribes to keep the mascots.

    Killingly goes by the Redmen and Redgals, while both Canton and Windsor are called the Warriors.

    Killingly lost out on $94,184 from the fund because of its refusal to comply with the law.

    The Killingly Board of Education in 2019 replaced the Redmen mascot with Red Hawks. But a group of residents won election to the school board later that year, after running on a platform to restore the old nickname, and brought back the Redmen and Redgals names.

    Five other schools use Native American names, images or symbols, but received permission from recognized tribes to continue their use: Derby High School; Derby Middle School; R.A.I.S.E. Academy in Derby; Schaghticoke Middle School in New Milford and Montville Elementary School.

    k.arnold@theday.com

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