Dear Manhasset Board of Education,
As we reflect on our past 18 years in Manhasset, we can’t help but feel an immense sense of pride coming from such a strong, caring and positive community. Manhasset fosters an environment where above anything else, we as students and avid community members are told to not back down from anything we believe in, especially when it is to protect a minority group who may not have a strong voice of their own.
As graduating members of the Class of 2021, before we conclude our academic journey in Manhasset, we feel it is only right to culminate all the values of Manhasset and bring forth a statement that cannot be ignored. Should we have the possibility to have one more lasting impact on our community, we feel it is only right to have it be something we feel so strongly about—the continuation of representation of Indian tribes who once occupied Manhasset territory through the school image and name.
As students within the school district, we possess a unique perspective on nearly all community issues and therefore have a responsibility to bring forth that perspective to the eyes and ears of the community. In following the “issue” of maintaining the Indian image in Manhasset, we have noticed that all of those against the Indian claim racism, derogatory ideals and degradation as reasons for the termination of the image. Undeniably, we can confidently say that any claim of this manner cannot possibly be further from the truth in our town. Manhasset students, whether learning in classrooms or competing at athletics events, metaphorically and literally wear the Indian name across their chest with pride and passion. Manhasset students represent this culture with the utmost respect, as we understand that without them, Manhasset could not be the community which we are today.
Not once at any school or community event have we witnessed the Indian name be tarnished or demeaned in any way, rather, we watch as students and community members proudly boast the name, chanting “We Are The Indians” for anyone in the nearby vicinity to hear.
Furthermore, this debate regarding Indian images could not be complete without the input of leaders from our local well-respected Indian tribes. Mere months ago at our very own Manhasset Board of Education meeting, these leaders were invited to express their sentiments regarding the continued iconic image of Manhasset. Although it would have been very simple for them to ask our community to discontinue the use of their image, they instead asked for more representation. After listening to the statements they made, it was clear that they were asking for the community to further understand their heritage and culture. For this reason, in addition to the continued image of the Indian in Manhasset, we propose an annual tradition in not only the school district but the entire community. Similar to the recent Memorial Day Parade on Plandome Road, we propose an Indian Appreciation Day in Manhasset, where community members are invited to educate and immerse themselves in Indian culture at Mary Jane Davies Park. This community event would be followed by an educational school day designated in the district calendar dedicated to Indian culture, where the gyms, fields and auditorium are reserved for Indian tribal leaders to converse with the young and impressionable students on the importance of their heritage.
We bring this issue to the attention of the school board as not only rumors of a new image circulate throughout the school, but also clear changes have been made around the building. Even just two years ago, the Manhasset M without being accompanied by a blue and orange feather would stick out like a sore thumb, but now, it has been replacing many school-issued materials. This includes the windbreaker at the foot of our stadium bleachers, the image on our football and lacrosse helmets, and on our newly painted weight-room doors, all of which were done without any community involvement. We urge the school board and administration to immediately stop proceeding with the backdoor termination of our Indian image and rather speak with the proud Manhasset community before any changes are made.
Manhasset is an Indian tribe. Manhasset is our home. And We Are The Indians.
Manhasset Varsity Boys Soccer Captain
In collaboration with and co-signed by Manhasset Class of 2021 Leaders:
Jesse Armendariz – Manhasset Varsity Wrestling Captain, Mackenzie Beil – Manhasset Varsity Girls Lacrosse Captain, Jack Cacioppo – Manhasset Varsity Boys Soccer Captain, Katie Carlson – Class of 2021 Student Senate, Representative, Manhasset Varsity Girls Soccer Captain, Finley Collins – Manhasset Varsity Field Hockey Captain, Rory Connor – Manhasset Varsity Football Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Lacrosse Captain, Ahmad Crowell – Manhasset Varsity Boys Basketball Captain, Max Craven – Manhasset Varsity Boys Track Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Cross Country Captain, David DeBiasi – Manhasset Varsity Boys Track Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Cross Country Captain, Stelio Frankis – Manhasset Varsity Ice Hockey Captain, Grace Gately – Manhasset Varsity Girls Lacrosse Captain, Connor Guido – Manhasset Varsity Boys Volleyball Captain, Rishabh Jajoo – Manhasset Varsity Wrestling Captain, Erica Kennedy – Manhasset Varsity Girls Volleyball Captain, Ava Kulka – Manhasset Varsity Girls Volleyball Captain, Emma LoPinto – Manhasset Varsity Girls Lacrosse Captain, Manhasset Varsity Girls Basketball Captain, Kendrick Luo – Manhasset Varsity Boys Swim Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Cross Country Captain, John McCarthy – Manhasset Varsity Football Captain, Jack McCusker – Manhasset Varsity Wrestling Captain Gaby McIntyre – Manhasset Varsity Girls Swim Captain, Matthew Moschitta – Class of 2021 Secretary, Aidan Mulholland – Manhasset Varsity Football Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Lacrosse Captain, James O’Connor – Manhasset Varsity Boys Golf Captain, Matthew O’Connor – Manhasset Varsity Boys Volleyball Captain, Daniel O’Neill – Manhasset Varsity Boys Track Captain, Manhasset Varsity Boys Cross Country Captain, Alex Ottavio – National Honor Society President, Grace Petersen – Manhasset Varsity Girls Soccer Captain, Megan Reilly – Manhasset Varsity Girls Soccer Captain, Thomas Roszko Jr. – Art Honor Society President, Manhasset Varsity Wrestling Captain, Nicolas Sodi – Manhasset Varsity Boys Swim Captain, Ellie Taylor – Manhasset Varsity Girls Lacrosse Captain, Manhasset Varsity Girls Soccer Captain, Jake Tolentino – Manhasset Varsity Boys Lacrosse Captain, Lauren Weppler – Manhasset Varsity Girls Cross Country Captain.