Both of West Hartford’s public high schools will begin the new academic year with new logos and nicknames.
By Ronni Newton
West Hartford Public Schools students return to class on Wednesday, Aug. 31, and some of the athletic programs have already started their preseason practices.
When the fall sports teams officially begin competition Sept. 8, both Hall High School and Conard High School will have new nicknames and associated logos, following a vote by the Board of Education on June 7 to replace the Hall Warriors and Conard Chieftains with the Titans and Red Wolves respectively. The adoption of the new names, chosen in a process that involved significant student input, following a timeline that was established after the Board voted on Feb. 1 to retire the previous nicknames that many still considered associated with Native Americans.
“We’re excited to start our new tradition as Titans!” Hall Principal Dan Zittoun told We-Ha.com in an email this week.
A prototype of the Titans logo, shared with the Board of Education in June, was created by rising Hall junior Elizabeth Karim. Stephanie Boccuzzi, a professional graphic artist, cleaned up that initial image and developed the font and official coloring, Zittoun said.
The transition to the Titans is underway and is in various phases, he said.
“The ‘Home of the Warriors’ has been removed from the front sign and we are working on updating it. The avenue banners have been ordered and will be replaced when they arrive,” Zittoun said, adding that signage for the building is also on order.
The gym floor has been repainted. The stadium turf has not been updated yet, but that will happen soon. The new logo appears on Hall’s website, which refers to the school as the Titans, and electronic and print media is being updated. Instagram is now @hall_titans.
Conard’s sports teams will begin the new season as the Red Wolves, but the school’s new logo has not yet been finalized. Principal Jamahl Hines said it should be ready in September.
Changes to the high school nicknames and logos are progressing as planned despite a lawsuit that was filed the day before the Board of Education’s June 7 vote by residents Scott Zweig and Mary McGowan.
The suit continues to proceed, and on Aug. 19 Zweig filed a 125-page memorandum, that included numerous exhibits, in response to a motion to dismiss filed on July 15 by Attorney James Healy of Cowdery & Murphy on behalf of the West Hartford Board of Education et al. In his opposition to that motion, Zweig asserts that the defendants do not understand the basis of the complaint, states that the lawsuit is warranted and should not be dismissed. Zweig asserts that he and McGowan indeed have standing and outlines other reasons why they chose to proceed with legal action.
“This is not a lawsuit simply about a decision by the Board to retire the honorific team names of West Hartford’s two high schools. This is a lawsuit about the fatally flawed process undertaken by the Board in reaching their decision. As the Complaint lays out in detail, the Board violated at least four of their own written policies and bylaws leading up to their fateful vote. By following these violations with the illegal and unauthorized expenditure of taxpayer funds, the Defendants caused the Plaintiffs to suffer direct harms which they are attempting to remedy in this action,” a section of the Aug. 19 filing by Zweig states.
West Hartford Corporation Council Dallas Dodge declined to comment on the Aug. 19 filing, but noted that Cowdery and Murphy would be responding. The next court date for the case is a remote hearing scheduled for Aug. 29.
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