When Douglas Freeman High School competitors next take the field or court, it will be as the Mavericks. John Marshall, principal, announced the new nickname — along with a new logo — in a message Thursday to students, families and staff members. The choice was the favorite of respondents in a survey of four options, and was selected by the school’s administration, in tandem with student leaders.
The final contenders — Mavericks, Pioneers, Trailblazers and United — were announced in October by a committee made up of members of the school community. The group had help from VCU’s nationally recognized Brandcenter, which includes Douglas Freeman alumni. The Brandcenter also helped develop the logo for the final selection, a stylized “M” above the words “Freeman Mavericks.” The new branding will join the school’s interlocking “DSF” logo, which will remain in use.
“After a careful and intentional process to find a new school nickname, symbol and mascot, we are overjoyed to announce that we are moving forward together, starting today,” said Marshall in a message to the school community.
Marshall noted that the nickname describes the school’s independent spirit and is consistent with the school’s core values of excellence, pride, intensity, family, diversity and tradition.
“We are free-thinkers and forward thinkers,” Marshall said. “We challenge the status quo to make the world a better place.”
To see a video featuring students and staff members talking about the selection, go to www.freemanmascot.info/announcement.
The school will share details soon about a planned “spirit-wear swap” where students can trade in Rebels gear for items with the new nickname and logo.
Marshall also announced in August the creation of the “Freeman Forward Fund” in partnership with the Henrico Education Foundation. The fund will build school culture and support long-term efforts to promote inclusivity and innovation. Members of the public can donate to the fund by going to https://bit.ly/33oNrqu.
The school announced in August that, after a review process that included public input, it was retiring its “Rebels” nickname and would seek a more inclusive nickname and mascot. That process drew more than 2,000 comments, including around 1,500 responses through an online form. The input also included emails, social media posts, handwritten notes, voicemails, videos and an online panel discussion on the topic.
While the school had used the Rebels name since it opened in 1954, it has not used a visual mascot for many years, instead opting for the “DSF” logo.
The school is named for Douglas Southall Freeman, a Richmond historian, author and journalist. While Freeman won Pulitzer Prizes for his biographies of both Robert E. Lee and George Washington, the school’s original mascot was likely inspired by his Confederate subjects.
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