Since the announcement earlier this year of an identity change for the athletic teams at Paw Paw Public Schools, select students have been working on narrowing down the selections for a new mascot.

On May 22nd, the Paw Paw Nickname Task Force comprised of current students between 5th and 11th grade and supervised the PPPS Director of Curriculum and Instruction Corey Harbaugh. They were handed the opportunity to determine the future beyond the Redskins name and imagery that graces the school district.

The School Board approved the respectful retirement of the Redskins name at the end of the school year in March by a 6-1 vote. Superintendent Rick Reo felt that the nickname caused a divide in the community and student body instead of togetherness. From the "Pride and Progress" newsletter released in February 2020 -

Our nickname is preventing us from realizing our true potential as a school that welcomes, celebrates, supports and challenges all students.

The Task Force developed five criteria that would be used to determine the new mascot - Inclusive, Non-Controversial, Prideful, Unique and Showcases School Spirit. The group received several nicknames from the community.

The announcement saw some criticism from community members that felt that the there was a lack of transparency in the process of deciding a new nickname. In his update, Superintendent Reo attached a memo from Harbaugh on the process of how the three finalists were decided upon - Lions, Phoenix and Wolves.

Several names were not allowed and were eliminated by the Task Force due to Native American references that didn't fall within the criteria put in place. Others that didn't make the cut were due to commonalities with other area schools, albeit high school, college and professional.

Now that the final three nicknames have been chosen, the community has an opportunity to create the logo and font that may be used for any of the finalists. Designs are being accepted until June 7th. As reminder no imagery will be allowed if there are Native American references and don't follow the five criteria instituted by the Task Force. The final displays will be shown in July.

With the final nicknames now being available, what would you like the Paw Paw athletic teams to be known as. Like the design deadline for the school, our poll will stay up until June 7th.

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