Community meeting

Debate over West High’s moniker change split at last community meeting

Knoxville, Tenn. (WATE) – The debate continues over the nickname of West High School – the rebels.
Students and some teachers are trying to change it, but some West High alumni and community members say they want to keep things the way they are.

Debate was divided at Monday’s town hall meeting over the possible renaming of West High School’s nickname, the Rebels.

Several people spoke for and against the change. Some have argued that the decision should just be a student debate and that community members and alumni should stay out of it all.

“It’s one of those issues where it’s not a definite answer and that’s what we have to do. I think there’s a lot of nuance, there’s a lot of different opinions and I’m just trying to figure out what’s the best thing to do moving forward,” said District 4 school board representative Virginia Babb.

Some current West High students have said they would like the choice left to them.

“There have been changes in the past that have been made by the student body, so why not continue that trend? They want to keep the traditions, why not keep the tradition of letting the students decide,” said West High junior Madelyn Foxx.

With so many differing opinions, some chose the neutral route, showing up at the meeting to voice their support for the students’ choice.

“I don’t really have a position, it belongs to the students who are here today. As the old saying goes, I no longer have a dog in this fight. I graduated in ’71,” said West High alumnus Carl Cook.

This was the last community meeting, but a survey will be opened on December 7 for community feedback. The survey will remain open until December 20. District officials are reviewing all comments and say it could be March of next year before a decision is made.