WA mascot is now officially ‘The Ghost’


Shreya Voruganti

WA will work towards creating a new image for the mascot, now referred to simply as “the Ghost”.

Shreya Voruganti, News Editor

The WPS School Committee has made a decision to change the current mascot name, “The Grey Ghost” to “The Ghost”. The image of the mascot is being rebranded, and students will be able to submit designs for the mascot redesign and vote on their preferred design. The school colors, maroon, and grey will not be changed. The school committee voted unanimously to pass this motion on to Nov. 22, 2021.

The mascot has been shrouded in controversy, as it may have connections to a Confederate soldier who went by the nickname “the Gray Ghost”.

By removing the word “Grey” without completely reworking the mascot, the school committee hopes to preserve the uniqueness of the mascot while still keeping some of the tradition behind it.

“There’s been talk of tradition and I think it is really important to respect tradition when it is a positive [for the] community,” School Committee Chair Chris Sanders said. “In this case, the sense is that we want to hold onto as much tradition as we can but also look at when tradition is harming [others].”

The current plan is for students to redesign the mascot and then have a vote on which design is the most liked, which will then become the new mascot for Westford Academy.

Middle schoolers are allowed to be involved in the decision-making of the mascot, including the creation of the mascot and the voting.

“[The middle schoolers] will be welcome. The school committee has asked me to embrace [them]. […] These are going to be future Westford Academy students, right.  We decided that going below grade six is a little bit too young. So grades six through eight will also be welcome to vote or to send in images for us to vote on,” Principal James Antonelli said.

To ease the school into the transition of the mascot, Antonelli wants to create a committee of WA alumni, community members, and middle and high school faculty members, who will organize surveys and handle the voting of the new mascot.

“I’d begin by soliciting some folks who would be a part of the committee, have a conversation […] about our expectations, and then hopefully by March, we would be able to run some kind of survey [to decide the mascot],” Antonelli said.

Once the mascot is changed, the budget will cover the expenses of repainting the walls, making new uniforms for some sports teams, and other places where the old mascot is visible.

“If we were to replace everything, right now, [the cost] would be around $24,000. I still am waiting for a few more numbers to come in as far as our banners, so that is focusing on the uniforms specifically,” Athletic Director Jeff Bunyon said.

To conserve money, Antonelli said there are ideas about reusing the pant bottoms of uniforms, and only changing out the top. Another idea he had was to use the old uniforms at the freshman and JV levels until they are cycled out and more new uniforms are bought.

To preserve the amount of effort that students put into murals with the old mascot, Antonelli suggests taking pictures of the murals, putting them into a yearbook format, and putting them in the library, so the pictures are easily accessible and the murals are not forgotten completely.

“I think that the biggest thing is that the students take pride in being unique. […] We’re not the Eagles, we’re the Ghosts. […] This is part of our identity as a community. But I think with that, we don’t want our identity as a community to be anything that is impacting [community] members […] negatively,” student representative Hannah Macey said.

There has been some deliberation amongst student council representatives about making the unveiling of the mascot a celebration, but nothing has been set in stone. The representatives are also thinking about planning an informational video about the mascot change to clear up confusion and to relieve worries about the new mascot.

Sanders remarked on how changing the mascot can be difficult, but necessary.

“Change is the word here and it’s really hard. I just want to acknowledge that just for the community, for our students, for our staff and administrators. One reaction, when faced with change, is to say ‘I don’t understand why we need this, this isn’t a problem’. But hopefully what we do is […] say, ‘Wait a second, is that true or is that it’s not a problem to me?’ [That’s] the key moment when you set it outside yourself and […] think about who else is this impacting in a way that I don’t understand.” Sanders said.