An update to a story we have been following for weeks. Earlier this month, the Bellefonte School Board voted to remove the Red Raider logo, and the Community was not happy with the decision. Now, the Red Raider name is on the chopping block. In Bellefonte on Saturday, current Students and Graduates let their feelings towards keeping the name be known.
Alumni and Students alike lined the front of the Centre County Courthouse, attempting to show this name change is not what the community wants. A few dozen people showed up outside the Centre County Courthouse this afternoon to protest against removing the Red Raiders as Bellefonte’s Mascot. Cherelle Zeigler is a Graduate of the School. She’s adamant that doing away with the Red Raider name would wipe away the past. Cherelle Zeigler of the Class of 1996 saying: “It’s pride, its tradition, if by changing the name and taking away the mascot, you take away history. You take away history that was set there by my generation and generations before us, generations after us, up till now. That’s not fair.”
The School Board is attempting to join a chorus of Professional Sports Teams and Academic Institutions that have moved away from Native American imagery. They voted 8 to 1 last week to retire the logo and have it removed entirely within the next year. The Board will soon vote on retiring the Red Raider name altogether, but a barrage of horns in support of this weekend’s protest shows not all are in agreement with the majority of the Board.
Brenda Reichert of the Class of 1980 saying: “We’re united in what we believe in. Listen to the horns. They’re all for support, to keep the Red Raiders. That’s what Bellefonte is. I mean, it’s history, why erase it?” Brenda Reichert, who tells us she is a Fifth Generation Native American who graduated from Bellefonte, says removing the name would be a sad thing to see. Reichert adding: “And a lot of us have Native American blood in us, in our family lines, I know I do — fifth generation, and I’m proud of that. I don’t want that erased.”
The monumental final vote will take place on Tuesday.