Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

June 5, 2013

Statue will be in gym for graduation

GOSHEN — Goshen Community Schools Superintendent Diane Woodworth and Goshen High School Principal Barry Younghans made the decision to move the wooden Native American chief statue back to the GHS gym.

“This has been a very difficult issue for the school administration to deal with and has already taken an inordinate amount of time,” Woodworth said in a press release. “People will just need to believe that it will be put back in place before graduation, and I am not sure exactly when that will occur, as the staff is busy preparing GHS for graduation.”

The chief was removed from the upper deck of the school gymnasium Thursday morning and a firestorm of comments broke out on social media sites about the removal. The school administration said the statue was removed before graduation so that people attending graduation who object to the school’s nickname of “Redskins” would not be offended.

Goshen School Board President Jane Troup said she was surprised, in some respects, at the reaction of the community.

“Social media is the latest way of communication and it is fast. The outcry and support for the mascot did not surprise me,” Troup said. “I was surprised by the reaction to a temporary move of a statue. It is unfortunate that social media took over and made it all about the statue. As the Superintendent stated in her press release, ‘the class of 2013 deserves to be honored for their accomplishments.’”

Troup said the focus should not be about the removal of the statue, but graduation and the accomplishments of the students.

“They have worked extremely hard during their school career and they deserve the focus and celebration of the week to be on them and all their successes,” Troup said. “School is not easy for our students in this day and age and it is time to return the focus to our students and the graduation ceremony for the Class of 2013. As a board we are very proud of each and every graduate.”

News leaked out Monday night that the removal decision would be reversed and the chief will be reinstalled in the upper deck before Sunday’s graduation ceremony.

There were comments posted on Facebook on the Goshen High School - Goshen, IN. group page in regards to the decision.

Cathy Culver Biller wrote: “I really believe much of the passion coming out in support of keeping the mascot is stemming from frustration over our athletic programs declining in the last ten years. It hit me how much the community supported GHS back in the day. Our kids don’t have any idea what that kind of support is like now. If we really want to make a change for the better in Goshen, let’s get behind our kids and put signs in our yards again, go to games, and be excited.”

Robin Denton Kibe wrote: “Thank you and continue the excellent work making GHS one of the top schools! I will always be proud to say I am an alumni of Goshen High School, home of the mighty Redskins.”

Allen Rassi wrote: “Thanks to the Goshen Community School Administration for allowing the Chief back up in time for Graduation! Let us all support the Graduates of the Class of 2013! Redskins for Life!”

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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