Thornton Fractional South High School officially adopts Red Wolves as new mascot

LANSING, Ill. (WLS) -- The Red Wolves are the new mascot for Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing after a school board vote last night.

For the last two school years, the school has been without a mascot.

"Just having something besides TF South on our jerseys, in our gym and around the whole school, it will be a lot better for us," said Caleb Newman, who is a junior and on the basketball team.

Back in 2020, the board voted to drop the "Rebel" mascot, saying it didn't represent the values of the school.

"The old name had such a bad connotation," said Ryan Richardson, a dean's assistant .

Kyndall Jackon, a junior at the school, said the school has changed so much since the Rebel mascot was adopted.

"We used to be predominantly Anglo Saxon and then we transitioned to having basically a giant minority population in the school," she said.

However, there was some pushback following the board's 2020 vote.

"We live in a time where things are so polarized, it's hard for things not to be looked at through the lens of the culture wars. So there was some, particularly alumni, that was very passionate that this was part of cancel culture," said Jake Gourley, the school's principal.

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A taskforce, made up of students and staff, was create to help guide the process of choosing the new mascot.

"Very tedious because you want to make sure that everyone gets a say while also acknowledging that there are limitations," Jackson said.

Once they narrowed down the list, they went to the student body for a vote last month. The Red Wolves came out on top.

Student-athletes are looking forward to competing with a more inclusive mascot.

"Coaching these last two years we have just been the TF South Football Team or TF South Basketball Team, and students didn't have the pride behind them like when you have a mascot," said Darrion Payne-Bennett, who is a paraprofessional and coach at TF South.

Starting next school year, TF South Red Wolves will be on team uniforms and signage through out the school.

"Even when the outside world has to be so polarized, our students can work together and that gives me hope," Gourley said.
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