NBISD mascot debate

The debate over the mascot for NBISD’s new high school, Long Creek, is set to continue. Some community members want to keep the Unicorns, while others prefer a fresh start.

The mascot question is weighing heavily on the minds of New Braunfels residents — even more so on the minds of those holding the fate of the Unicorn in their hands.

It is a decision the New Braunfels ISD board of trustees aren’t taking lightly — that’s why after extensive debate they’re holding off making a decision to seek more community input.

“Just keep asking for the voice of the community,” Superintendent Cade Smith said. “I think that’s the right way to go — let the community make the decision on this.”

Members of the board reviewed results of the initial survey, which ed community stakeholders such as parents, faculty and students at New Braunfels Middle School.

About 5,800 responded to the survey consisting of six mascot choices and the Unicorns received the most votes with nearly 2,000 followed by Lions and the Dragons.

While only three of the six options were viewed by the board, the data suggests about 1,900 respondents voted for one of the other mascots.

A majority voted for a mascot that wasn’t the Unicorns and made up 66.3% of votes.

The Herald-Zeitung published its own online Thursday morning and out of about 600 respondents 490 said ‘no’ to the Unicorns.

“We already have a high school with the Unicorn,” Jessica Padilla said. “They need to pick something different.”

In exploring other options, the board discussed the second most voted on mascot during a workshop Wednesday.

Some suggest the Long Creek Lions has a nice ring to it. The new school is named for the creek behind the campus, which the board approved in December 2020 after a 5-2 vote.

Many believe the lion references the animal depicted on the Solms-Braunfels coat of arms, but one board member has reservations about its uniqueness.

“It makes sense because of the way people are rationalizing it because of the crest,” said Morgan Renaud, District 1 trustee. “If they just become the Lions, well, there’s 11 other high schools, and I think Long Creek was chosen because there was no other high school that has that name in the state, but then they’re gonna be Lions, and they don’t have uniqueness there either.”

After researching Texas high school mascots, the trustee uncovered the Lion as the seventh most common mascot in the state after the Eagles, Bulldogs, Tigers, Panthers, Wildcats and Mustangs.

Many in the community want the district to stick to a mythical creature theme with some throwing out suggestions like Pegasus and Griffins.

“Some of the names people have thrown out — Krakens, Dragons, Narwhals — all of these things that I’ve never heard of as a school mascot before,” Renaud said.

Some in the community feel those attending the high school should have a larger voice in the decision.

“I understand tradition, but with a growing city comes change,” Linda Morales said. “As a parent to new kids in the area (like many others) we have no attachment to a Unicorn mascot and the same colors is strange and unheard of. The kids should definitely be heard since THEY will be the future graduating classes.”

Kristey Dowden Kelley echoed Morales’ thoughts on Facebook.

“Traditions run STRONG in this town, and that being the case, it’s time to give these kids a chance to develop THEIR traditions instead of those belonging to NBHS,” Kelley said.

Survey results concluded New Braunfels Middle School, whose students will become the first Long Creek graduates, wanted to see change with roughly 68% voting for a different mascot.

The board remains divided on carrying on the Unicorn name, which could be designated for all future high schools — elementary and middle schools already bear the Unicorn name.

“There’s such a storied history of the Unicorn in this community,” NBISD Board President Eric Bergquist said. “It goes back generationally — they’ve all been Unicorns. It’s really tough to say … the sheer identity of being Unicorns in this community is over just because of the location of your property.”

Until a mascot is chosen, the board can’t proceed with selecting school colors nor approve elements of school design, which the board will consider early next year.

With time ticking, the board is seeking further community input to put the question of continuing the mascot to rest.

The survey plans to ask if the community wants the Unicorns, and if so, do they want all future high schools in the district to be the Unicorns.

At this time there is no scheduled release of the survey.

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