UPDATE: Students choose nickname for new high school in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Students began the day at the new Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington this morning without a mascot and ended their first day of school as The Broncos.

The announcement was met with thunderous applause during a school-wide pep rally at the close of the school day. Students selected The Broncos as their mascot from a field of five equestrian themed choices that also included Mustangs, Racers, Stampede and Thoroughbreds.

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“Allowing students to vote on the mascot gave us a unique opportunity to teach our students about student voice and social awareness,” said Lester Diaz, Frederick Douglass High School principal.

After first unveiling the school mascot as The Stallions in January, school and district officials decided to instead allow students to select their own mascot when school opened. The initial announcement drew heated critics and vehement defenders and officials rescinded choice rather than allowing the selection of a mascot to become a divisive issue for the community.

“At Frederick Douglass High School we are preparing our students for a 21st century global society and our students need to understand the importance of being inclusive,” Diaz said. “We teach a lot more than just what’s in the curriculum we teach tolerance and respect.”

Frederick Douglass High School was built on a 65 acre portion of the former Hamburg Place farm, where the Madden family bred 14 champion racehorses, including four Kentucky Derby winners and the first Triple Crown winner – Sir Barton. The school colors are Keeneland green and orange, and the school’s horse logo pays homage to Lexington’s rich equestrian heritage.

Enrollment in Fayette County’s sixth high school is still ongoing, but by the end of the day Frederick Douglass had 1,053 students. They started their day with an all-school assembly where they received instructions on how to vote on the mascot.

Students voted on their smartphones via a school app, on the internet via a google form and with pen and pencil on paper ballots. 892 votes were cast and Broncos was the top choice for 59% of the students. Complete results were:

  • Broncos: 526 votes
  • Mustangs: 91 votes
  • Racers: 47 votes
  • Stampede: 139 votes
  • Thoroughbreds: 89 votes

“You better move out of the way,” Diaz said at the end of the assembly, “because there’s a stampede of broncos coming.”

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.