Becoming the Red Wolves: The Need for Swag Entering the New School Year
By: Gabriella Nobou
With the recent switch of Conard’s mascot from Chieftains to Red Wolves, a common concern arose regarding the need for new Red Wolves merchandise and apparel going into the 2022-2023 school year. Seeing as there wasn’t even a confirmed mascot design until just a few weeks ago, and the new Red Wolves apparel is still on its way, many Conard students, much like myself, feel that the transition from Chieftains to Red Wolves felt rushed. It would’ve meant a lot to begin the new school year with new Red Wolves apparel and merchandise, to not only boost school spirit, but also to represent new beginnings here at Conard, and prompt our school community to better embrace the change. Instead, there was this period of limbo in between being the Chieftains and the Red Wolves, where it didn’t really feel as though much of a change occurred at all.
12th grader Chase Rovero describes how Conard’s switch from Chieftains to Red Wolves felt like a “last minute change”, and how he and other seniors alike would’ve appreciated getting to graduate before Conard’s transition to the Red Wolves mascot. In regards to the lack of apparel, Chase claims “They should’ve had merch already set, or at least designs in mind” before undergoing the change. I and several other students agree that this alteration of the mascot did feel very abrupt, and without any merchandise to display our school spirit as the Red Wolves starting off the school year, it feels like we never stopped being the Chieftains. Another senior, Makaila Sawyer, expresses that “having apparel for the Red Wolves brings unity to the school” because “everyone’s repping the same thing”. Like Makaila, I believe having Red Wolves attire would better unify Conard, by having us all come together, in that we are collectively embracing our new mascot, and representing Conard. The transition would have likely felt more seamless if it occurred right at the start of the school year. Whereas, implementing new merchandise now, while some students may still be wearing their old Chieftains attire, will feel disconcerting.
Students still wearing their old Chieftains serves as a reminder that a change of our mascot means nothing without a change in mindset - from a Chieftain state of mind to a Red Wolf’s. Not only are fellow students expressing the need for new apparel, but AP Environmental Science teacher Mr. Decker reports feeling as though “the lack of swag impacted our opening of the school year”, and “was a missed opportunity” to celebrate Conard’s new mascot. Because of this, the change in mascot felt rather anticlimactic. However, Decker additionally extends gratitude towards Mrs. Ruiz, who has new designs for Red Wolves apparel underway, and with that, new merchandise will be coming our way soon!