South Central Middle School in Emerson will be renamed Red Top Middle School and its sports teams renamed the Miners for the 2019-2020 school year, officials said Monday.
Bartow County School Board on Monday, May 20, voted to approve a committee’s recommendation and rename the 30-year-old school to better reflect the surrounding community, officials said.
The school’s new colors will be red, silver and white, with the red representing nearby Red Top Mountain and the silver and white accent colors representing the feeder schools, school district officials said.
Superintendent Phillip Page said the same committee will meet again to decide on any other needs to complete the rebranding, including a final logo.
“Hopefully, real soon, we will get this logo on some T-shirts for a few kids and staff,” Page said.
South Central opened in 1989 and has about 600 students. Its sports teams have been the Chieftains and colors maroon, gray and white.
Page said the rebranding effort began after community members approached him in August to begin discussions about changing the school name “with one that better represents the community it serves,” he said.
School system officials then formed a committee of students, parents and administrators from South Central and its elementary feeder schools; community members; current Principal Tia Windsor; future Principal Wes Dickey; and other school administrators.
“Each group shared their top two ideas and the reasons for their choices,” a news release stated.
Among the ideas were Old Alabama Middle School and Lakepoint Middle School, which seventh-grader Kimmora Mahatoo said she supported because of the nearby Lakepoint Sporting Community regional sports complex.
The committee ultimately decided on Red Top Middle School as the name.
Kim Fraker, the school system’s chief operations officer, said in a news release, “This process went surprisingly smoothly.
“Everyone came prepared with ideas and reasons for their choices, and they were all great,” Fraker said. “But in the end, the committee agreed that Red Top Middle was the best.”
Before the nickname was chosen, Emerson Mayor Al Pallone told the committee families settling in the area after the discovery of gold in Dahlonega in 1829 found the area’s red dirt contained large deposits of iron, as well as graphite and small deposits of gold.
Mining became one of the main industries in Emerson and is still done today throughout Bartow County, he said in the release.
After considering the nicknames Cardinals, Mountaineers and Rattlers, the final choice was Miners as the new school mascot to replace Chieftains.
Dickey said in a news release he was pleased with the choice and felt “the process was easier than expected.”
“Everything had a rhyme and a reason for why it was chosen,” said Dickey, who will serve as principal for the 2019-2020 school year.
“It was great being a part of this,” Dickey said. “The students on the committee got to be included in something that most weren’t able to experience.
“I am very excited to jump on board at Red Top Middle,” said Dickey, who is the current principal at Woodland High School. “I look forward to working with the students, teachers, parents, community and business partners.”
Windsor said it was “an honor to be the last principal of South Central Middle School.”
“I’m sure the new name will be well-received by the community, but I know that whatever the school is called, it will always be my favorite,” she said.
Page said school board members were given a picture of a preliminary logo that showed a red “R” and a pick axe used for the letter “T” that is not the final logo to represent the school.
Keith Foust of school memorabilia company Herff Jones warned board members they must be careful someone else has not already claimed any logo they approve.
“You need to make sure it represents the community, and you own it,” he said.
He said organizations of all kinds have been forced to repeat branding efforts after creating a logo already used by another entity which then threatens legal action.