South Mascot Evolves from Rebels to Ravens

South Mascot Evolves from Rebels to Ravens

Juliana Martinez, Journalist

Mascots are the biggest thing that represent what a group is and how they identify themselves. Although some can be controversial, most are thought-out mascots that stay the same for years! Denver South High School has had controversy throughout the years about the “Rebel” mascot and what it represents. The rebel mascot was based off “Johnny Rebel ” a confederate soldier from the civil war era. Like the other four schools known as Denver West, East, and North, Denver South came up with a mascot at the time that represented the South. As West chose the “Cowboys” and still represents them today. South believed Johnny Rebel was what showed the “south” and its history. Unfortunately, this mascot is a symbol that supported slavery. With the diversity at South, this made many students feel uncomfortable and a change had to occur. We then changed the mascot to a Gargoyle, but the “Rebel” name still remained and the student body felt that this still did not represent South in the way they want it to. 

Do you believe South should be changing their mascot and why?

“No, because ever since the school was founded it’s always been the rebels… changing it would change the spirit [and I] feel like it wouldn’t be South [without] the proper mascot” is what 11th grader Jazzlyn Corfield believes. Another voice would be Carmylla Powers, 12th grade, stating “yes because the rebel has racist origins I think the gargoyle is fine…”. Due to the controversy behind the Rebel name coming from a Confederate Soldier known as “Johnny Rebel” in the 1860s. It has been more than 100 years since then and South believes it’s time for a change. An alumni of Denver South said, “If changing the mascot will bring peace to the majority then yes. However I imagine no one will be happy (satisfied)[,] change or no change” Kameko Kawamoto, class of 2003. This statement is true, no one is ever satisfied, despite the changes and sacrifices that are made. 

As part of the South community, do you have any special ties to the current mascot, or do you feel that the current mascot is a good representation of South and why?

Since the mascot is representative of Denver South and who they are as a whole, the mascot should feel special to them. Ashley Martinez, 11th grade, states, “I sense… our [m]ascot, Rebels, demonstrates power. It feels great being on the sidelines cheering for the mighty Rebels!” Many students feel that the rebel name did not have to be represented as something “racist” but as something they are claiming to be strong and powerful! “… I think it is a good representation since it’s been the mascot for so long… I knew the mascot since before I… went to [S]outh… when you think [S]outh you also think of the mascot” Kevin Escamilla, grade 11, claims. The Rebel name has been around for so long that people are used to saying it. It would be difficult to get over chanting “Shoulda been a Rebel” to something else. But they are willing to make those sacrifices. 

Do you have any concerns about the current mascot and why?

The concerns about the mascot were a few, many students believed they were solely chanting for their school, not for a confederate soldier. A 10th grader had to say this, “… not many people know what it really means and… that’s the past, there is no need to take something the wrong way if it already happened…” meaning that the Rebel name is not intended to be racist and many students don’t realize it’s background since it is not perceived in that way. Many other students shared that they did not have a concern about the current mascot but the Rebel name “can be considered hateful…” Carmylla Powers.

Will changing the school’s mascot greatly affect the school’s culture/spirit and do you have any other ideas for a new school mascot and why? 

Some may say that a mascot is the biggest thing that makes the school spirit how it is. Students believe, “I[t] might affect the school spirit since it will take some time to get used to the new mascot…” Kevin Escamilla, 11. Many would say that at Denver South, the students and staff bring life to the school rather than the mascot.  “[I]t might not change it a lot, but it will show the school[‘]s willingness to change for the better…” Carmylla Powers, 12. This brings up the fact that Denver South loves the mascot and is supportive of the Rebel name, but they are more supportive of the students and would sacrifice the name in order to bring the student body closer. That is what Denver South is all about, not just the mascot. 

Will changing the mascot create more controversy now than in the past and why?

Although Denver South is trying to accommodate for the majority of students who do not support this name, the choosing of a new mascot is still controversial and could lead to more difficulties. Jazzlyn Corfield, 11th, believes, “I feel like it would since gargoyles have… been our mascot… some people could get offended… but some people will love a new mascot but at the end there is always controversy.” There will always be controversy despite people trying to erase it. It is something that is inevitable. Alumni, Kameko Kawamoto, says, “I imagine the reason behind wanting to change the mascot is the controversy it may be causing. Denver South[,] and all that it means to me as an alumni[,] will not change regardless of if the mascot changes. My connection is with the school and with the opportunities I gained from attending but also the memories created there that will stay with me forever,” class of 2003. The school itself is a powerful place and the students who attend are even greater. The memories don’t have to be connected to the Rebel name, but to the students and staff who made the name mean something. As long as the majority is now satisfied, the students will accept a new mascot with pride and continue to make memories. 

In conclusion, Denver South chose a Raven to represent South as its new mascot. The students have had mixed emotions as expected but they are willing to accept the Raven as the new symbol for South. Since a Raven has a lot of good intent behind it and symbolizes greatness along with other things. Principal Bobby Thomas explained how Ravens are smart birds who are problem solvers. Ravens are also loyal and empathetic animals and have a history of being held high in different cultures. Finally, they are not associated with any gender or race. This is what they believe could best represent South while also keeping the “R” from Rebels in order to not get too far from our roots. The Raven will be accepted and the student body will continue to show what Denver South represents despite the change.