Wisconsin high school that dropped nickname has new moniker

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HURLEY, Wis. (AP) — Six months after dropping its controversial nickname, a northern Wisconsin high school has a new moniker.

The Hurley School Board decided to drop the Midgets nickname in January, after scrapping the idea of having a community vote on whether to dump the mascot. After a months-long community engagement effort and dozens of nominations, the team will now be known as the Hurley Northstars, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

A committee of 36 people, including students, teachers and parents, received 76 nominations for new mascots. Some paid tribute to the area's history as a center for mining, with names such as the Iron Rangers, the Headframers and even the Hurley Hematites, after iron oxide. Others, like the Blizzards and Storm, sought to showcase the region's famous winter weather. And wildlife choices were popular, from Bucks to Foxes to Harriers.

Dayne Stuhr, who served on the committee as a high school senior and has since graduated, said the group took its job seriously.

"A mascot isn't just a name," Stuhr said. "At least for us, it means something more."

Hurley Superintendent Kevin Genisot, himself a Hurley graduate, said that while some community members opposed renaming the school, in general the ones he and the students encountered felt like it was time to change a nickname that many consider offensive. A recent graduate who served on the committee, Ally Rye, agreed with the move and said the new name resonates with her.

"Like a North Star up in the sky, you can always find your way back home to it," she said.

Some schools in the region are nicknamed Midgets, including Butternut, Wisconsin, Freeburg, Illinois, Estherville, Iowa, and Dickinson, North Dakota. McLaughlin, South Dakota, changed its moniker from Midgets to Mustangs in 2016.

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Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio, http://www.wpr.org


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