A CLOSER LOOK: High school in Fort Smith has Maverick spirit after mascot change


Southside High School transformed from the Rebels into the Mavericks.

FORT SMITH, Ark. (KFTA) — Ramay and Woodland junior high schools in Fayetteville are in the process of changing their mascots, a feat a Fort Smith high school successfully accomplished a few years ago.

Ramay and Woodland will begin the selection process to choose new mascots, changing from the Ramay Indians and the Woodland Cowboys.

Back in 2015, Southside High School in Fort Smith transformed from the Southside Rebels, which had a Confederate soldier for a mascot, into the Southside Mavericks.

The Southside students have embraced the change, said Alice Alt, president of Southside’s Parent Teacher Student Association.

“Our young leaders, our young disrupters, our young change agents are so adaptable. I think one of the greatest things that we’ve been able to watch these students do is come in and embrace a culture of good, a culture of success and really what we call, ‘Being more Maverick,'” Alt said.

The students have become leaders in the transition, according to Alt.

“From a Southside High School PTSA perspective, it’s a really neat thing watching the students lead us in their embracing in being more Maverick,” Alt said.

Maverick spirit is hard to miss at everything from football games to quiz bowl competitions, Alt said.

“You see a sea of Carolina blue and red and a Mav symbol everywhere,” she said. “The kids have embraced this. We have more merchandise than you can shake a fist at fly off shelves. When you come on campus and you see the aesthetics of becoming a Mav, it’s easy to see that the kids are leading the way in embracing the culture.”

Changing the mascot from the Rebel to the Maverick meant rebranding, which meant acquiring everything from new uniforms to a new mascot design on the basketball court.

The total cost to rebrand from the Rebel to the Maverick was $240,000, according to Zena Featherston Marshall, executive director of Communications and Community Partnerships for Fort Smith Schools.

Changing the floors did not cost as much as one would expect, according to Marshall.

“Those didn’t cost as much as you would think because we were in a cycle. We were redoing some floors at the time anyway. It would have just been the artwork. It wasn’t a super-expensive task to do that,” Marshall said.

Acquiring new uniforms also didn’t cost as much as it could have.

“It wasn’t as if we had to replace all of the uniforms, because we were on a three-year cycle anyway. All uniforms were replaced every three years. We were replacing a third of the uniforms at that time anyway,” Marshall said.

None of the students starting school at Southside this year were students at the high school when the Rebel mascot was still around.

“They’ve always been Mavericks over there now,” Marshall said.

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