Changing M.C. Perry school name and mascot: Good or bad idea?
Published: May 3, 2012
During a visit last month to Matthew C. Perry High School on what’s become an ever-changing Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, I’d heard of discussion revolving around the name of the school, and a possible change of that name along with the mascot, the Samurai.
Such a change would coincide with the opening of a handful of new schools on Iwakuni, part of a major buildup that’s already seen the opening of a new off-shore runway, and will see the addition of a commercial air terminal, revamping of the school’s and base’s athletics fields and much more in the coming years.
Administration said it was leaning toward the name of a Medal of Honor winner, or a legendary general (I thought Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller would be a good one, but administration said they’d passed on that) for the school’s new name; no mascot ideas had been floated yet.
A handful of folks at Iwakuni apparently feel that the use of Samurai for a mascot is an insult to the Japanese culture, just as people at Yokosuka Naval Base in the late 1990s wanted to see Nile C. Kinnick High School abandon the Red Devil (also a Japanese cultural symbol) as a mascot for being sacrilegious. The name Seahawks was floated as a replacement, but in the end, YoHi alumni pushed back hard enough that the change never took place.
And if reaction on Facebook is any indicator, Perry alumni are just as furious about any possible school name or mascot change. A petition is being circulated on Facebook, created by Perry alumnus Marcy Banks, and was signed by 13 people in its first hours (DISCLOSURE: I signed it, too).
It’s pretty easy to see why alumni would be angered over such a move. Their high-school years are associated with a particular school name and mascot indelibly for the rest of their lives. It connects and bonds their fellow alums, it’s in fact a symbol of that very connection and bonding, the same way John F. Kennedy High School of Bellmore and the Cougar will be part of my life forever.
But what does SportsBlog Nation think? Should Perry keep the name and the Samurai, or would a change be fruitful and good for the school and the community? Sound off!