Hart High School unveiled a new mural made by students in coordination with the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians and released its mascot submission forms at the school’s open house on Tuesday.
The William S. Hart Union High School District governing board voted 4-1 on July 14, 2021, to retire the Hart High School Indian mascot by June 30, 2025. The board cited the need to move away from a race-based symbol that the school has been associated with since Jan. 10, 1946.
The mascot issue gained public traction in early 2021 with a Change.org petition to change Hart’s mascot, amassing more than 18,000 signatures, and Castaic High School student Ava Paulsen’s award-winning article, “Retiring Hart High’s Race-Based Mascot: What Culture Will We Allow?”
Jason d’Autremont, Hart High School principal, said on Tuesday that Hart does not have a mascot, but rather has had the nickname “Indians” since the school’s opening.
“Working on a plan to institute change on campus, including removing ‘The Tribe’ as our student section moniker,” said d’Autremont, “I couldn’t be prouder of our students’ reactions to this change.”
At Hart’s open house on Tuesday, the form to submit mascot nominations was released to the public. Staff, students and community members are all free to submit their ideas and nominations.
Nominations can be submitted at bit.ly/3FB9v3h.
Nominations will be reviewed and narrowed down by a committee, to be formed at a later date, and students and staff will then get to select from the nominees.
“Once again, this is a process that will involve a lot of thought, time and many of our stakeholders’ input on,” d’Autremont said to those gathered at the open house. “Thank you in advance for your willingness to take part in this monumental and historical decision for Hart High School.”
Hart High School has been working with the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, whose ancestors were the first peoples to inhabit the land that Hart resides on, since March 2022 to create a mural best depicting the land.
A competition was held for the mural at Hart High School – a rendering of the best depiction of the land to be made into a mural.
Hart High School worked collaboratively with the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians to create the mural.
Staff, students and community members voted upon multiple renderings of the land that were submitted.
“What you see behind me here is that mural, vibrant with colors and all completely student-created and completed,” said d’Autremont.
Students Hector Dominguez, Jeremy Baranda, Isabella Erickson, Lily Murachanian and Lux Morgan all participated in creating the mural. Art teacher John Fossa oversaw the project.
The mural was unveiled via a video due to rain. The mural unveiling is available for viewing at bit.ly/3JQPYyA.