Walpole High School has rebranded and will now call its athletic teams the Timberwolves. Photos courtesy of VIPBranding.
By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
In June of 2020, the Walpole School Committee voted unanimously (9-0) to drop the high school's "Rebel" nickname. Since the start of the 2020-2021 athletic year in late August, the school's varsity, JV and freshmen athletic teams have been without a mascot, with the one exception being Walpole's storied field hockey program, whose nickname remains the "Porkers."
What followed was a nine-month grey period. Speaking from the personal experience of having written stories about Walpole High athletics every week for the past nine months, referring to each team as "the Walpole High School varsity _________ team" throughout the articles got exhausting pretty quickly.
On April 28, the grey period finally ended when Athletic Director Ron Dowd confirmed earlier reports by Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald that the school would be adopting "Timberwolves" as their new athletic mascot. Dowd also confirmed that the school will be maintaining their orange and navy blue colors. The news was announced via Twitter.
So, how did Walpole High end up with 'Timberwolves' as their new mascot? The decision was actually given to the students of Walpole High, as well as Bird and Johnson Middle School, with a vote. After months of voting, the final four candidates came down to "Wild," "Timberwolves," "Wolfpack," and no mascot at all - just "Walpole." Ultimately, "Timberwolves" was the last name standing and will now be adopted as the school's official mascot.
Change is never easy. No matter what side of the "cancel/keep the Rebel mascot" argument that you're on, Thursday's announcement should serve as a bit of a relief for the community. With the Rebel name now in the past, Walpole has officially severed ties with a mascot that, in the eyes of some residents, carried racist connotations. It's officially time to move on.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as video highlights of games, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram handles @flano0.