The latest West Michigan school district to evolve to a new nickname for their athletic teams has come to a conclusion after the school board approved the move Monday.

After it was announced in July 2020 that the Indians nickname will be retired following the school year, the Saugatuck Public Schools board unanimously approved the new mascot on February 22nd to become the Trailblazers.

The process of deciding the new name took seven months and over 250 entries were submitted from students and the community. The Mascot Development Committee, comprised of students, administration, faculty and community members, narrowed those entries down to just over 90 unique names based on the position statement -

The new Saugatuck Public Schools mascot will be locally relevant, relatable to both current students and alumni and will portray a positive, uplifting image. This mascot will tell a story, inspire our students and community, and portray strength. The new mascot will not reference any groups of people or specific cultures.

After the community voted on eight finalists in December, the Committee had to choose between the three top vote-getters in January. The Committee unanimously recommended the Trailblazers mascot name to the school board and the board in turn unanimously approved the new name during their regular meeting.

Saugatuck superintendent Dr. Tim Travis stated in a release that the Board's approval makes the next step for the school's new identity even closer.

This is a very positive day for the district. I applaud the board for embarking on this journey that ultimately fosters a school culture conducive to learning that values racial equity, diversity and the inclusion of all students. Trailblazers captures the district goal of students finding their unique educational path as well as leading the way to a better future for others.

Adding to the excitement, Saugatuck alumnus, current teacher and coach Matt Diaz replied -

The district's mission statement is ‘prepare students for life’. This is exactly what a Trailblazer does. A Trailblazer is prepared for life. A Trailblazer leaves their mark on society. A Trailblazer creates a path for others to follow. A Trailblazer is someone who leads by example to get the job done. I truly have faith this is what we are teaching all our students here at SPS.

A new logo has not been approved as images, messaging and brand standards will now be formed to capture the the Trailblazer spirit while donning the iconic royal blue and orange school colors. Some of the ideas put together by Saugatuck High's graphic design students envisioned an owl and a phoenix when displayed during a virtual workshop on February 1st.

Saugatuck becomes the second district in the region to change their mascot over the last two school years. Paw Paw Community Schools is competing as the Red Wolves after retiring the controversial Redskins mascot following the 2019-2020 school year.

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