By Melanie Lekocevic
Capital Region Independent Media
RAVENA-COEYMANS-SELKIRK — The RCS school district has chosen a new name and mascot, and now they’ve got a new logo, too. And it was designed by a current RCS student.
After a months-long process to come up with a new name to replace the Indians, the community picked the Ravens through a series of online surveys.
The name change was mandated by the state when the NYS Department of Education required all school districts to do away with team names that suggest Native American imagery. Districts that refused to comply would lose state aid — which for RCS would amount to over $20 million a year — and face other consequences. The mandate impacted nearly 70 school districts across New York state; all appear to be complying with the requirement.
So, RCS’s new name — the Ravens — was chosen by the community through several online surveys. The district next set out to find a logo to represent the team and decided to do so by holding a student art contest.
An online poll in late December drew 1,300 votes, and the winning design was created by RCS Middle School student Madalyn Babcock, according to the district.
The new logo features the head of a black raven with “RCS” beneath it in the school district’s colors, green and gold.
Now that a new name and logo have been selected, the district’s rebranding committee will determine what happens next.
“The RCS rebranding committee will reconvene to discuss the next steps in the remaining rebranding process,” according to the district. “As a reminder, RCS will not be called the Ravens until August of 2024 and New York state has an expectation that we will complete any physical rebranding by June of 2025.”
“This will give us time to take our winning artwork and create a new branding guide that will be used for business, athletics, and any areas that display our school logo/mascot.”
Indians images will be phased out, with the new logo eventually taking their place on uniforms, signage, the swimming pool, football field, and so on.
“Now that this last phase is complete, the district will continue its process of retiring current branded items such as uniforms, banners and other signage,” according to the district. “Larger changes of rebranding like the athletic fields, pool and gym floor will be scheduled for updates via regular maintenance, replacement or construction projects.”
“Some of these areas are already scheduled for update or replacement by 2025,” the district continued. “Any updates [that] need to be completed prior to the end of their expected, useful life will either be subsidized by funds given to the district through PILOT programs (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) or by funds given to the district by Holcim.”
Expenses related to the rebranding effort will not be funded through the district’s general budget, according to the district.