Rapids is the new name to take place of retired Chieftains
Hold on tight, the Rapids are increasing in intensity.
The Rapids on 99th Street, that is.
Columbia River High School students have voted for Rapids to be the name of their sports teams. A graphic that features whitewater crashing into the letters, with the moon, stars and trees in the background, was shown as a potential logo. The official logo will be unveiled at a later date, with more input from students.
The Rapids beat out Captains, as in riverboat captains, in the final vote after a long renaming process.
The new name will debut immediately. The Columbia River baseball, softball, and tennis teams are scheduled to play Friday afternoon.
Alex Otoupal, Columbia River’s principal, said when a River athlete hits one out of the park today, it can be announced as “That’s another Rapids home run.”
“It will take some getting used to. We know that,” Otoupal said. “But it’s a go. We’re off and going.”
There was no school on Friday. Otoupal did make a video announcement to student leaders.
He spoke from the school’s gymnasium.
“These banners behind me say ‘Columbia River High School.’ Traditions of excellence, no matter what our name is, do not change,” he said.
“Let’s rally behind Columbia River High School.”
The school board for Vancouver Public Schools retired the name “Chieftains” in September. Since then, a transition team was formed to come up with a replacement.
Among the original finalists were Sasquatch, Royals, Rapids, and simply River, as in Columbia River with no mascot.
The board nixed the idea of Sasquatch and Royals, asking the transition team to come up with more options. That’s when Captains and Purple Tide entered into the contest.
Students then voted to a final two. Captains vs. Rapids.
In this case, the Rapids were just too intense for the Captains to maneuver through on this journey. Rapids won the vote 343-164.
The rebrand is the end of Phase 1 of the transition from Chieftains. The next phase will be the design of the new logo. Again, the logo used for the vote is not necessarily going to be the final logo.
“We want student voice and student participation in every facet,” Otoupal said. “Now that we have a mascot, we want to put it back out to students. We want to get input from students.”
Otoupal said the timing of the change is perfect as the school is undergoing a remodel. That includes academic buildings as well as the stadium.
“This is a positive thing,” Otoupal said, noting that once an official logo is designed and made, it will be featured at the stadium. “We want to make it an enjoyable process.”
Education, Otoupal said, is the business of hope and optimism.
“We know our best days are yet to come. We have an amazing tradition here. We don’t lose that,” he said. “It is a really, really special place. It’s a chapter in the story of this amazing place.”