May 2, 2023
Dear Saint Joe Community,
Earlier this year, we announced a process to determine whether Saint Joseph High School should keep or change the nickname of Indians. We formed a committee of alumni, students, parents, and faculty/staff tasked with listening and learning. During the past four months, the committee has engaged in extensive research; provided an avenue for constituents to express themselves directly; hosted town halls with students, faculty/staff, alumni, and parents; and conducted a survey open to all members of the Saint Joe community.
We would like to express our gratitude to the School Nickname Evaluation Committee for their exceptional work on behalf of our school, the Saint Joseph High School School Board for their leadership, and everyone in the Saint Joe community who gave input through this process.
The committee has completed its review of the research and the feedback from the Saint Joe community. On Tuesday, April 25, 2023, the committee presented its recommendation to the School Board of Saint Joseph High School in favor of changing the school nickname. The School Board voted unanimously in favor of the recommendation, which then passed to the Principal, who accepted it. Thus, the decision was made to change the school nickname. Bishop Rhoades was informed of the decision and supports the change.
As a Catholic institution, it is our moral responsibility to uphold the dignity of the human person. Through this process, we have learned that the Indians nickname does not honor our local Native American tribe. In fact, the use of Native American themed mascots has harmed or devalued many who identify as Native American. Thus, the nickname no longer aligns with our mission, vision, or core values. Furthermore, the nickname inhibits school spirit, as it neither provides a mascot nor serves as a symbol for the student body to rally around in unity.
As a result, the Indians nickname will be retired at the end of the current school year. Thus, we will come together as a community to identify a new symbol around which to rally. Though Saint Joseph High School will adopt a new mascot, our shared history, deep faith, and tradition of excellence in the classroom and on the field will endure. Our mission – to educate students in heart and mind to serve God, the Church, and the world – remains.
Soon we will engage in the effort to identify a new mascot and nickname. We will also seek ways to commemorate the Indians nickname and honor our history. Planning will start this summer, and we expect to launch and complete this phase during the fall semester of the 2023-24 school year. In this next phase, we will invite participation from the Saint Joseph High School community. Our student body will have a particularly important voice in this decision.
Thank you to the committee, the School Board, and our entire Saint Joe community for engaging in this process and contributing to the decision. We envision a renewed commitment to our mission, and we look forward to the next phase of our school’s history. Moving forward together, we will be stronger than ever.
God Bless, and Go Saint Joe,
John Kennedy, Principal
Maura Ratigan, School Board President
Adam Gill,'02, Chairperson, School Nickname Evaluation Committee