West Ridge High has colors; mascot still under wraps

Rick Wagner • Apr 4, 2018 at 11:30 AM

BLOUNTVILLE — It’s official: Sullivan County’s new high school is named West Ridge, and its colors are sky blue, charcoal and white, the school board formally decided Tuesday night.

But will it be West Ridge Hawks, Jets or Wolves with those colors? You’ll have to wait a month to find out, as will the Board of Education.

The BOE voted 7-0 to choose a mascot like the other decisions based on the majority choice from an online survey and the recommendation of a committee and Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski. However, the school system will not divulge the choice of 66 percent of survey participants, who could choose among Jets, Hawks and Wolves, until the May 4 groundbreaking at the school site off Exit 63 of Interstate 81.

“Thank you for the board indulging us on the mascot reveal,” Rafalowski told the BOE at the end of Tuesday’s meeting.

The 1,700-student, $60 million school off Lynn Road near the former Sam’s Wholesale Club and a few miles north of Tri-Cities Airport, was named after a 24-member committee of students, parents and teachers helped narrow the choices to three names, three mascots and four color combinations.

Attending the meeting were three committee members: Blountville Middle teacher Tammy Wininger, Sullivan K-8 parent Elizabeth Bright and Blountville Middle student Anne Marie Honecutt. Wininger, like Rafalowski and other committee members, declined to reveal the winning mascot, and board member Michael Hughes said he’s not sure what it is.

West Ridge got 47.5 percent of the 10,623 survey votes or 5,047. Coming in second was Sullivan Ridge at 26.7 percent or 2,839, with Sullivan West  — the name of the former high school where the middle school portion of Sullivan K-8 was until the building became a middle school  — was a close third at 25.8 percent or 2,737.

The new school will take the place of Sullivan South, North and all or much of Sullivan Central high schools.

The naming inadvertently became public at a Thursday board work session when invitations to the May 4 groundbreaking were handed out. Those invitations included the name. 

As for high school colors, the winner was sky blue, charcoal and white with 35.3 percent or 3,750 votes. Purple, gray and white at 30.7 percent or 3,258 came in second, while navy blue, light blue and silver got 20.9 percent and black, white and silver polled 13.1 percent.

The new high school is to open in the fall of 2020. In other action:

 — The board with a 7-0 vote tabled action on a proposed policy that would subject students in extra-curricular activities to random drug and alcohol tests after member Mark Ireson, who recommended the policy, moved to table it until the June 5 regular board meeting. “I need to prepare a little bit more,” Ireson said. “It would have everything at that point.”

 — The board voted 7-0 to do a blanket adoption of K-12 science textbooks, due to Tennessee by April 15, with no requirement to buy any of the books. Board member Jane Thomas initially made a motion to table the approval because of concerns over the CKLA program, which stands for Core Knowledge Language Arts, an English and reading program that has science and social studies also embedded in it for grades K-3. Thomas said she is concerned that CKLA is being used to teach reading, science and social studies but is not on the state list for science or social studies, and she requested to make or have a presentation on the matter at a future board meeting. 


 — Rafalowski honored the accounting department for getting a clean state audit, the first since 2015, and the Federal Programs Department for getting a clean federal audit and a commendation. She also lauded eight high school students who recently attended SCOPE (Student Congress on Policies in Education) in Murfreesboro last month.

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