The Belmont Bulldog

Bulldog wins Belmont students’ hearts in first vote for mascot

Older students sought a change to team names, younger ones voted to stick with tradition

Well, the Belmont student body has spoken. The Bulldogs will remain the Bulldogs, at least for now.

The fate of the beloved Belmont secondary mascot was left in the hands of the students in the form of a vote.

Belmont’s leadership group was tasked with helping facilitate that vote. Group member and Grade 12 student Birkamal Pannu said there was some confusion in a number of teacher advisory groups (TAG) that may have resulted in a skewed vote. While students were asked to rank their top three choices, he believes some students ranked them backwards.

“We’re planning on doing another final survey,” he said. “This is a really serious matter.”

Turning over a new leaf with the new building, school administrators asked students whether they wanted a new symbol to represent them moving forward. Students brainstormed ideas in their TAGs, submitted their favourites, then voted to narrow down a list of the top 10 suggestions. The top three went before the entire school for a third and final vote.

Pannu said the students wanted to honour the great job everyone did designing the new school by providing the best possible image. Among the student body, he said, there was some division: older students hoped to see a new school mascot, while younger ones tended to vote more to remain as the Bulldogs.

“(We’ve got) a new building, we should get a new mascot,” Pannu said, adding the bulldog is becoming a little too common as a nickname.

Classmates in his TAG had hoped something like Raiders or Timberwolves would replace the Bulldogs.

It was a tight race, but the school’s beloved Bulldog mascot managed to steal enough hearts to remain the symbol and pride of the school. Coming in a close second was the Bears, followed by the third option, the Timberwolves.

Belmont hasn’t always been home to the Bulldogs.

Back in 2000, as part of a unit on negative stereotyping in society, students in the First Nations Studies 12 class examined ways Canada’s aboriginal people were portrayed, including looking at athletic mascots.

At the time the school’s sports teams were known as the Braves and the Tomahawks. A large display in the school’s gym even featured a cartoon-like aboriginal figure with the slogan “Scalp ’em Braves.” The students decided it was time for a change to something more culturally appropriate.

Belmont teams played without an official name for much of the 2000-01 school year, as a small group of athletic leadership students gathered suggestions from students as well as the community. In the end, Bulldogs emerged as the most popular entrant and was adopted by the school for September 2002.

The new Belmont is honouring Canada’s aboriginal people in a different way and will be installing displays just inside the front entrance, celebrating First Nations culture with artwork and history.

katie@goldstreamgazette.com

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