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.
“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 The initial announcement drew heated critics and vehement defenders and officials rescinded choice rather than allowing the selection of a mascot to become a divisive issue for the community.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.”