“Yachtie” Contributed / Falmouth Schools

If some students get their way, Falmouth High School will get rid of “Yachtie,” the school’s mascot, and the “snooty” Yachtsmen team name along with him.

The town, in a survey that closed Sunday, has been seeking residents’ opinions on changing the team name. The findings of that survey, conducted on behalf of the school board, and ideas for new mascots will be shared at a future meeting.

Falmouth High School sophomore Caroline Rozan said she and other students want a mascot that better represents the school.

The high school and middle school civil rights team presented the findings of their schoolwide surveys to the school board a few months ago. Of the students responding to the survey administered in their home rooms, 60% said they actively dislike the mascot. Representing a white man and the wealthy sport of yachting, the mascot and the team name do not represent the study body, they said. And, both lack the energy befitting athletes’ fighting spirit, they said.

“Being a minority, the only one on a team, and having a white mascot does not make me feel included,” sophomore Caroline Rozan, a student athlete and civil rights team member told The Forecaster.

“I remember I was playing in Casco, and a girl said ‘you go to Falmouth? That’s a white school.‘ People give you a look,” said Rozan, who played hockey and is on the track team.

“People of different sex origins don’t feel included. The Yachtsman is a rich white man with a yacht. It makes Falmouth sound snooty,” she said. 

She and other students say they’ve heard disparaging remarks about the Yachtsmen name and mascot from other schools. A student from another school told Rozan the Yachtsmen “sounds like daddy’s money,” she said. 

A undated newspaper cartoon portrays a player on the Yachtsmen basketball team. Courtesy photo / Falmouth Schools

The civil rights team’s survey showed that at least 60% of respondents find no school pride in Yachtie, as evidenced by the fact that his likeness is found nowhere on campus.  Students have more pride in the ship’s wheel depicted on the school crest and exhibited through campus, they said.

Working off the ship’s wheel, Rozan said one of her ideas for a name replacement name is the Navigators.

“Navigators has no connotations to race, sex, gender or age,” but also is still acknowledges sailing and the compass around the school, Rozan said.

At a February School Committee meeting, Chairperson Whitney Bruce said this issue is important to the board, and they want more input.

“The goal of a mascot is to unite rather than divide them or leave them feeling ambivalent,” Bruce said. “It’d be a missed opportunity to unite and have spirit.”

Oddly enough, the Yachtsmen name came about because of a sports writer’s mistake, according to an old but undated newspaper article provided Bruce provided to The Forecaster.  The article said the sportswriter mistook a clipper ship depicted on a Falmouth basketball player’s team jacket for a yacht and called the team the Yachtsmen in a sports story. The name stuck.

According to David Farnham of the Falmouth Historical Society, the name first appeared in newspapers in a Dec. 12, 1948, issue of the Portland Press Herald, in a story titled “Scarborough Faces Tough Test Friday,” and the oldest reference to the name in the school yearbooks was in 1950.

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