South Bend selects “Bears” as new mascot

South Bend Superintendent Jon Tienhaara announced that the South Bend School Board of Directors unanimously voted to adopt ‘Bears’ as the new school mascot at their regular February meeting.

That decision comes after months of community engagement and input from students, teachers, and alumni, after being required by the State of Washington to change the mascot from “Indians”.

“We are happy to announce that the Board has selected the ‘Bears’ as our new school mascot,” said Tienhaara. “This decision represents a collective effort to choose a mascot that is inclusive, representative of our area, and reflects the desires of our students.”

Tienhaara added, “The bear is a symbol of strength, determination, and resilience, and we are confident that it will inspire our students to work together and strive for excellence throughout their entire experience at South Bend.”

Five names were being considered as finalists for the school as a new mascot.

These names include (in alphabetical order): 

  • Bears
  • Riverhawks
  • Timbers
  • Tsunami
  • Warhawks

The selection process involved research and consultation with the community to determine the most fitting and unifying mascot for South Bend Schools. The school board’s decision was based on a number of factors, including the mascot’s ability to inspire school spirit and pride, its potential for visual representation, and its relevance to the local community.

“I want to thank school director Wendy Manlow for leading the selection effort these last several months.” said Tienhaara, “Wendy has done a tremendous job collecting stakeholder feedback.”  

Tienhaara adds, “I also want to thank principal Jason Nelson for his work in facilitating the focus group, which consisted of community members, staff, and students.”  

School director Manlow added, “I was very impressed with the students on the focus group.”  “They clearly communicated their desire and did a good job explaining their thinking on the matter.”  

The focus group’s work was the final step of the selection process, and ultimately made two recommendations to the board for final selection. 

South Bend School District will now begin the process of transitioning to the new mascot, which will include updates to the school’s logo, uniforms, and other branding materials. The district is committed to ensuring a smooth and seamless transition and will provide regular updates to the community throughout the process.

“We want to thank everyone who participated in the selection process and provided valuable input and feedback,” said Tienhaara. “We are excited to move forward as the South Bend ‘Bears’ and continue to build a strong, vibrant, and inclusive school tradition.”