807 East Avenue South | La Crosse, Wisconsin 54601 | 608.789.7600
Central RiverHawks

Central High School unveils new RiverHawks mascot

LA CROSSE, Wis., (February 15, 2021) – UPDATE: La Crosse Central High School students and staff have chosen a new mascot. The RiverHawks mascot was unveiled to the Board of Education tonight after a months-long collaborative process to replace the school’s previous Red Raiders branding.

Given one of the district’s mission statement goals is to ensure quality, equitable, and innovative educational opportunities for all students, it is imperative that all La Crosse schools have mascots that are culturally sensitive and inclusive of all races and nationalities represented in district buildings.

“I always look at this as an opportunity, when we take action to right wrongs is really important,” said school board member Shaundel Spivey. “When we talk about communities of color and those that have been marginalized and oppressed, to see that and to hear that and to feel that acknowledgment is really important.”

The RiverHawks won the top spot after voting but was followed closely by the Bandits. Students and staff submitted 558 responses. Other names considered included the Cardinal, Chargers, Golden Bears, Lumberjacks, Pride (Lions), and Titans.

“As a former Central student, somebody who has coached at Central, and now is a principal,” said Central High School Principal Troy McDonald, “I certainly understand that pride, but this does not diminish the pride that people have had, and I think all the people who have pride in the previous logo is well-intentioned and it’s a very positive thing. But in order to make Central a safe place for everybody, I felt that we needed to move forward, and so I think this is the next step.”

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LA CROSSE, Wis., (November 9, 2020) – PREVIOUS: Central High School will be retiring the “Red Raiders” team name and mascot. Over the years, conversations have taken place about the history and appropriateness of “Red Raiders.”  After hearing a wide range of feedback from students, families, staff, and community members and valuing those perspectives, school administration made the decision to move forward with a change.

While the district continues to focus on safely re-opening schools in the midst of a complex and unprecedented COVID-19 environment, Central High School administration is committed to discussing this topic and hearing from the school community.

Given one of the district’s mission statement goals is to ensure quality, equitable, and innovative educational opportunities for all students, it is imperative that La Crosse schools reflect mascots that are culturally sensitive and inclusive of all races and nationalities represented in our buildings and the broader community.

“The proud tradition of being a Central High School student, staff member, or alumni isn’t about a mascot, an image, or a name but it’s rooted in excellence and life-long learning and I want to move forward with that spirit,” said Central High School principal Troy McDonald. “We will work with our Central High School family to find a new mascot that will be a source of pride for future generations and be consistent with the belief that Central is a safe and welcoming place for all.”

Administration will work to develop a plan for removing all applicable imagery as well as for creating and establishing a new team name and mascot, which will include student and staff input and involvement. The process will also involve establishing ways for students to reflect and learn from the past as it relates to the “Red Raiders” name and mascot as well as other traditions and history, including that of the surrounding community and its strong Native American roots.

Central High School administration hopes to present a new name and mascot to the School District of La Crosse Board of Education in early January.

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