No change for East High colors, mascot


YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Board of Education declined to vote on a proposal to reconsider the choice of a mascot and school colors for the new East High School.

A resolution calling for another student vote on the choices was pulled from the board’s meeting agenda tonight, with President Michael Write saying the matter will be referred to a board committee for review and recommendation.

Board members Lock P. Beachum Sr. and Dominic Modarelli had pressed to get the resolution on the agenda.

The resolution said a large number of East alumni and alumni associations “have questioned the validity and fairness” of the earlier student ballot to pick a mascot and colors because the ballot failed to include the former East mascot (golden bears) and former colors (dark blue and gold) as an option.

East High School was closed in 1998 when it was converted to a middle school, which did retain the same mascot and school colors.

A new East High School is being built for about $30 million, and students who will be attending the school voted to have the colors be light blue and gray and the mascot be a panther. The board later officially approved the students’ decision.

The resolution pulled from the agenda asks for a new vote on a ballot that would include the old East colors and mascot and notes that Atty. Daniel Rossi, a 1945 East graduate, would pick up the “reasonable” cost of the new vote.

Students attending Rayen High School and about half of those attending Wilson High School will be attending East, which will open this fall. Rayen and Wilson are being closed.

Neither the Rayen nor the Wilson colors and mascots were on the student ballot for the new East either.

School officials said current and former mascots and colors were intentionally left off the ballot. It is a new school and the students should be given a fresh start in choosing a mascot and colors, school officials said.

Changing the mascot and school colors at this stage will be a very expensive proposition, officials said.

Anthony DeNiro, assistant superintendent for school business affairs, said painting of the interior of the new building is already 95 percent complete in the light blue and gray colors, the panther mascot is being painted on the gym floor, and football uniforms have been ordered in the new colors.

To change back to the original East mascot and colors could cost as much as $500,000, he said.

Some school directors don’t see the importance of the debate.

“I think the students have spoken,” said board member Jacqueline Taylor, asking that the resolution be pulled form the agenda.

East Middle School has been closed, and those children are attending the new P. Ross Berry School and have already adopted the panther and light blue and gray themes, she said.

Board member Jamael Tito Brown said the debate “is a minute issue when you’re in fiscal emergency and academic watch,” a reference to Youngstown’s financial and academic conditions.

Write said the issue of a new vote never went through a board committee and that’s a deviation from past practice.

Beachum said people concerned about the matter need to know the board is taking some action. Modarelli suggested the board needs to meet with the groups calling for a new vote on the issue.Write said that will be a task the board committee can handle. He hasn’t decided which committee.

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