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Southern Cayuga Cougars: School selects new mascot nickname

The Southern Cayuga School District has announced the selection of ‘Cougars’ as its new mascot nickname, following a comprehensive community engagement process.

Superintendent Patrick Jensen shared in a community letter that the decision came after a vote on December 1, where ‘Cougars’ emerged as the preferred choice, replacing the previous ‘Chiefs’ nickname in compliance with New York State Education Department rules.

The renaming initiative was part of a broader effort to move away from names associated with Native American history. The process was spearheaded by a committee of students, staff, and community members, who established criteria for the new mascot.

This collaborative effort involved inviting community nominations and a student-led committee to refine the choices, ensuring that the new mascot would be a source of pride and free from potential ridicule.

A voting process was then conducted, allowing students, staff, and the community to cast their votes, resulting in Cougars winning with 235 votes, followed by Knights with 199 votes, and Red Dragons with 188 votes.

The district’s next step involves collaborating with a professional graphic artist to create a unique and representative mascot image or logo for Southern Cayuga.