Pentucket Regional School District Chooses ‘Panthers’ to Replace Sachem Mascot

“Pentucket” means “the place by the winding river.” As such, the new Panthers logo includes the Merrimack River and three trees, reflecting the three sending communities in the Pentucket Regional School District seal. (Courtesy graphic.)

Pentucket regional School District Superintendent Justin Bartholomew. (Courtesy photograph.)

Pentucket Regional School District, which “retired” its Sachem mascot in 2020, has settled on a Panthers icon and name at the high school and middle schools.

The Pentucket School Committee ratified the new mascot last week following a recommendation by the Mascot Selection Steering Committee. The committee, led by High School Principal Jonathan Seymour and Middle School Principal Terry Conant, consisted of staff, students, parents, alumni and the community.

“We were impressed by the level of involvement and the quality of comments and suggestions we received throughout this process,” Seymour said. “The final selection reflects who we are as a school community.”

Two years ago, a district statement following explained “The harmful Native American stereotypes perpetuated by the media and American society were also discussed at the July meeting, for example the popularization of the Native American headdress, which has been featured in past representations of Pentucket’s Sachem mascot.”

The Steering Committee received more than 300 mascot suggestions in January, selecting seven, they said, that most closely reflected the District and community. The options were narrowed to three and a community survey showed strong preference for RiverHawks and Panthers.

During the week of May 16, 860 students at the high and middle Schools and next year’s incoming sixth-graders, voted to adopt “Panthers” by 58 to 42%. High School students preferred Panthers by 52 to 48 percent.

Noting the word “Pentucket” means “the place by the winding river,” officials said the new logo includes the Merrimack River and three trees reflecting the three sending communities—Groveland, West Newbury and Merrimac—n the seal. The logo will be used by the Middle School and High School, and will appear on the gym floor at the new Pentucket Regional Junior-Senior High School, which opens this fall.

“Decisions such as these are not easy, and require community input. Thank you to everyone who contributed their time, effort, and thoughts about the new mascot,” Superintendent Justin Bartholomew said.

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