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Jets, Hawks or Wolves? Survey seeks name, school mascot and colors

Rick Wagner • Mar 13, 2018 at 8:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — Should Sullivan County's new high school be Sullivan West, West Ridge or Sullivan Ridge?

And should the mascot be Jets, Hawks or Wolves? And what about the colors?

The school system is seeking your opinions on options, with a school board vote set for April 3. 

An online survey is live on the county school system's website, and it gives choices of three names, three mascots and four color combinations for the new 1,700-student high school to be built near Tri-Cities Airport. The survey went live Wednesday morning, and voting ends at noon on Friday, March 23.

The survey is open to the public and will help the Board of Education choose a name for the new $60 million facility. The system used the same basic process for naming Sullivan East Middle School, about a mile away from Sullivan East High School and having the same Patriot mascot and colors of red, white and blue. However, the only choices were among names, following input from a middle school naming committee.

OLD SCHOOL, GEOGRAPHY AND HISTORY

Sullivan West High School was the name of the high school housed in what is now the middle school portion of Sullivan K-8 in Sullivan Gardens. It combined with part of the students from the circa 1968 Sullivan Central High School zone in 1980 to form Sullivan South.

Under the school system’s plans, after the new high school opens in the fall of 2020, Sullivan South and Sullivan Central are to become middle schools

Meanwhile, Sullivan North has been sold to Kingsport for $20 million and is to become a city middle school to replace Sevier Middle. Funding for these and other school projects comes from a $140 million countywide bond issue split among the county, Kingsport, Bristol, Tenn., and Johnson City schools. 

West Ridge and Sullivan Ridge pay homage to the Hunt and Centenary ridges near the school, Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said. As for an individual being honored, Sullivan County is named for Revolutionary War Gen. John Sullivan.

Rafalowski said a more than 20-person committee, with student, parent and teacher representatives from three current county high schools and all the middle schools that feed into them, came up with the final survey choices. That group will meet again March 28 and vote, with results and a Rafalowski recommendation to be passed to the school board at its March 29 work session followed by a board vote at its April 3 regular meeting.

WHAT ABOUT MASCOTS AND COLORS?

Mascots on the ballot are Jets, Hawks and Wolves. Jets would tie in with the airport, Rafalowski said. North’s mascot is Raiders, South Rebels and Central Cougars. Sullivan East High will remain in operation after the new high school opens and may take some students from the eastern end of the current Central High zone. Rafalowski said Jets and Hawks emerged early, while Wolves was a later addition to the final mix.

Instead of three options for colors, the ballot gives four options. They are: purple, gray and white; sky blue, charcoal and white; black, white and silver; and navy, light blue and silver. The colors of South are light blue and silver, North is black and gold and Central is orange and white.

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