With a strong nod to tradition combined with a decided turn toward the future, students representing two high schools (for now) came together Tuesday to recommend a name, mascot and colors for the city’s soon-to-be lone public high school.
The new high school will be called Dothan High School. The mascot will be the Wolves, and the colors will be cardinal and black with an accent of gold.
The recommendations were made following multiple meetings of a committee comprised of male and female students of different races from Dothan High School and Northview High School. The committee shared ideas, took polls and narrowed down several suggestions to a single recommendation.
The recommendations were met with support from the Dothan City School Board and those in attendance at Tuesday’s regular board meeting.
Students from both high schools said the group grew together over the course of two months.
“As we started getting to know each other, you learn they’re just like us,” said Dothan High sophomore Vanessa Neve. “I know, at first, both schools carry a lot of pride. But after we got to know each other, I think we all changed.”
Northview junior Jabre Barber and sophomore I’zarrius Macon said they were convinced the students can unify behind one school.
Barber and Macon said they were looking forward to participating together in athletics.
School board chairman Mike Schmitz said he spent time with the committee during one of its meetings and witnessed the students “break down territorial walls.”
“It was just extraordinary,” Schmitz said. “The respect they showed to the past while wanting to blaze a new trail was tremendous. They thought about things I did not think 18-year-olds would think about. They thought about costs and were concerned about the financial aspect of this. They’re to be really commended for the work they’ve done.”
The two schools have been rivals for a generation since Dothan High School split into two schools, leading to the formation of Northview High School. Now, Northview’s campus will be the home of Dothan’s lone high school while Dothan High School will become a junior high school for grades 7-9.
Student presenters said other school names considered included Mural City High School, Circle City High School, North Dothan High School and Dothan City High School. Mascots considered included Tigers, Cougars, Titans and Wolves.
Other colors considered included blue and gray.
“These student leaders were articulate, they were passionate and they were not shy,” DCS Superintendent Dr. Phyllis Edwards said. “They shared their ideas and respected other ideas.
“I think us as adults can learn a lot from what you’ve done,” Edwards told t he students.
A separate recommendation apart from the student committee was to name the junior high school Dothan Preparatory Academy. The recommendation is expected to be considered at a later board meeting.
In other news:
» The board approved a $15 million bond issue to help fund initial improvements to Dothan City Schools. The system’s A1 bond rating will allow the system to borrow at a rate of 2.79 percent. The system will pay interest only for the first two years while debt is being retired on money previously borrowed.
Edwards said significant issues with city schools have not been dealt with for a few years.
“We have had these buildings and we have issues and we have not addressed those issues in some time. I think it matters where you go to school and what your school looks like,” Edwards said.
Dothan City Schools Chief Financial Officer Mike Manuel said the system can afford to repay the bond issue, but added the system will need to closely watch its capital outlay costs as the principal payments increase.
» The board approved incentive pay for teachers willing to work at the city school with the highest poverty rate.
» Dothan City Schools had one school on the annual list of failing schools released by the Alabama Department of Education Tuesday. Honeysuckle Middle School was one of 76 schools on the list, released on the Department of Education website without comment. The list includes the bottom 6 percent of schools based on standardized test results from the previous spring. The designation allows for school choice measures to become active. However, the restructuring of the city school system will likely make that a moot point.