HARTFORD, Mich. (WOOD) — The Hartford Public Schools Board of Education voted on Monday night to adopt “Huskies” as their new mascot.

The move comes after the board voted to drop the “Indians” nickname at the request of the Pokagon Tribe in nearby Dowagiac. A student-led committee narrowed the names down from a list of 274 submissions.  

The five criteria given to the committee for a new mascot were inclusiveness, non-controversial, pride inspiring, unique and true to community. Members of the committee say there are several ways to incorporate this new mascot into the school moving forward.

“We decided that paw prints can be used throughout the hallways, leading to courts and leading to the football field. We can also use names like ‘The Pound’ or ‘The Doghouse’ for our gyms,” Hartford High School student Cessie Finley said. “We can use fun songs like ‘Who Let the Dogs Out?’ We can market it by making the younger ages be called ‘The Pups’ and we can even have a suit made.”

The next step is to design the logo and marks for the new mascot. The student-led committee hopes to involve the community in that process.