Changes To Homecoming Celebration Receives Opposition

A petition was created against the name change of KiYi to Sagitta

Homecoming is all about celebrating school pride.

But changes to a 76 year-old- tradition have diminished that pride for some students at Watertown High School.

And they want to go back.

“This year’s homecoming wasn’t as motivational,” says Watertown High School Sophomore Spencer Marotz.

Last week Watertown High School celebrated homecoming in new way.

Every year the school puts on a performance before crowning the king and queen, portraying a fictional story.

“Two different groups that came to this area in our past that didn’t get along at first, then got along and became one,” explains Watertown High School Principal Dr. Michael Butts.

It used to be called the legend of the KiYi, now it’s called Sagitta, the Latin name for arrow, which is the school’s mascot.

And it’s been modified a bit.

“The story itself was almost identical, it just changed what we used to use with Native American terms to a council rather than a tribe,” says Dr. Butts.

As well as removing the Native American themed costumes, and changing the king and queen name from ‘chieftain’ and ‘princess’ to ‘protector of the purple’ and ‘guardian of the gold’.

“It didn’t really correlate to the arrows, the councils don’t seem like there would be arrows anywhere involved, so the school name doesn’t correlate with the new legend,” says Marotz.

Marotz says he’s not a fan of the new changes.

“There was a different feel to it.”

So he created an online petition to reverse what was done.

“It is just such a strong tradition, it is the heart of Watertown that really unites us and it is just kind of ridiculous for 76 years of tradition to be erased because some people find it offensive,” he says.

In the past couple of years, the school received negative feedback for the legend of the KiYi saying it was a mockery to Native American culture.

“We had some people with some threatening language, very just nasty language lashing out at the kids,” says Dr. Butts. “The kids didn’t feel comfortable or safe, and honestly, this is supposed to be a fun week, not a week where we’re worrying about being safe.”

This is why the school board chose to make some changes.

However, Marotz says based on the more than 1,000 supporters on his petition in the last 5 days, he believes the school should stick to the old.

“I think someone would be offended yeah, but it doesn’t make sense to appeal to the minority instead of the majority.”

“Change is hard,” adds Dr. Butts. “I think it will become what it is we do and it won’t make any difference.”

Marotz’s petition is a response to a petition made about a year ago.

That one was against the KiYi name and theme.

However, Marotz says the majority of the people supporting that were people who don’t live in Watertown, so he says they probably already forgot about it.

His goal is to get 5,000 online signatures and take them to the school board.

But it may not matter.

Dr. Butts says they’re planning on sticking to the changes for next year’s homecoming.