After 64 years as the South High School Rebels, the Kern High School District announced the school’s new mascot on Friday, May 7th – the South High School Spartans.
South High School was originally founded in 1957. Their mascot was the “Rebel Man” or “Johnny Rebel,” who was fashioned after a Confederate solider. The mascot, however, isn’t the only Confederate themed feature; the surrounding streets — Fambrough, Merrimac, Sumter, Monitor and Shenandoah — are all named after Confederate figures, battles, and warships. In addition, and only one block away, are Plantation Avenue and Plantation Elementary. Up until the late 1960s students even waved the Confederate flag.
“It makes me feel ignorant,” Brandee Vasquez, a previous South High student said about the moment she realized the rebels were representing confederate rebels. “Like the wool was pulled over my eyes.”
The efforts that have been made to change the Confederate iconography have often come following periods of upheaval in the country. Following the death of George Floyd and the George Floyd protests that occurred over the summer of 2020, a petition began to circulate — calling on the school to finally change it’s mascot.
Consequently, South High alumni, staff, students, and community members came together to form a mascot committee to decide on a new mascot for the school. The mascot chosen, the Spartans, also comes with a new logo for the school.
“As a proud graduate of South High, I want to see the school continue to thrive and embrace a larger community with this new name change,” Assembly member Rudy Salas, a South High graduate, commented. “I look forward to seeing great things from our future Spartans and young leaders.”