The Chieftain Legacy


Shane LeRoy

The definition of a Chieftain is the leader of a group of people or clan. The name Chieftain has roots prior to and outside of the Native American culture, that most of us associate with the term.  According to Merriam Webster Dictionary “Chieftain” is derived from the Middle English chieftaine, from Anglo-French chevetain, from Late Latin capitaneus chief/ captain and its first known use is in the 14th century.

There is a strong and proud legacy in becoming a Chieftain here at Nashoba. All of the articles that have been posted on the Chieftain Press have focused on the Chieftain mascot being a Native American symbol. While this is true, here at Nashoba it goes far, far beyond that. I feel that many people have spoken on why they think the mascot should be changed, but not a lot of people that value keeping the mascot have shared their opinions, making it seem as if the population here at Nashoba is in complete agreement for changing the mascot.

All of the students that we have here at Nashoba represent just how much our school embraces and achieves a leadership role. We go above and beyond performing in Athletics. Since I began high school, our football team has won the Massachusetts State Division II Super Bowl twice and our hockey team has won the Division III State Hockey Championships consecutively, for two years. All of the sports teams at Nashoba feel they are together as one and embrace the Chieftain symbol. We are all proud to represent the strong nature and dedication that a Chieftain possesses.

A recent quote from Nashoba’s Athletic Director, Tania Rich: “Since I graduated from Nashoba, I have always felt like a Chieftain through and through. I have great pride in being a Chieftain.” Being a Chieftain is not something that is taken lightly for the alumni of Nashoba. My father, who graduated in 1981 and played on the baseball team and hockey team all four years of high school, was selected as an all-star athlete for Central MA Division 2 as Nashoba’s goalie, and talks today about how he still carries the pride of being a Chieftain, of being a leader, of being united with fellow students towards achieving a goal.  My father’s goalie mask, was painted as Chieftain because he was proud to be one, not because he disrespected the heritage of the Native Americans; he showed who he was during every hockey game, a leader. My father was extremely proud that the Hockey team won states the past two years as his team came up just short of playing in the big game in 1980, over 36 years ago. It is obvious that his pride in his school and former team still resides strong within him.

This issue does not just affect Athletics. All of our clubs, organizations, activities and groups sponsored by Nashoba include the Chieftain as a leader mentality. Each organization strives to promote dedication, leadership, achievement, and integrity.

At Nashoba, we stress academic value. Ranked in the top 50 for public high schools in Massachusetts, academics are of the highest importance. All of the teachers and students work hard to achieve – which makes them all leaders.

Nashoba’s activities create a very diverse culture. We are ahead in many programs and offer many which our neighboring schools do not. Our EMT program is one of the few offered in New England. It gives students an opportunity to assist in real life emergencies and provide healthcare to patients daily in the town of Bolton. Recently, students from Nashoba made a trip to Malawi to help doctors and assist in medical procedures, an incredible opportunity for all involved.

Nashoba’s robotics team, the Robo-Chiefs have a growing program, with more and more students participating each year. They placed first in two 2016 New England Regional Robotics Competitions, and even progressed to the world competition.

One of the groups that focuses on community leadership and helping others is the Best Buddies group at Nashoba. Each peer mentor is becoming a leader when they sign up to partner up and work with a student that has a disability. Our Best Buddies program and the inclusiveness towards these students at Nashoba may be rare in many public high schools throughout the country.

Nashoba’s business education classes are above the level that other schools offer. Students who take Business classes have the opportunity to participate in the DECA competition. DECA is a business competition for high school students all across the country. Most of the competitors from Nashoba make it to the State competition in Boston, with several every year moving onto Nationals – last year held in Orlando, this year in Nashville.

The theatre arts and music program at Nashoba provides students a great opportunity to not only explore their interests but put on tremendous productions for the student body and staff. Just in the past five years, Nashoba’s theatre group earned a total of 10 TAMY Awards, some of which include: Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Costumes, Best Stage Crew, and Best Lighting Design. This past year, Nashoba’s Concert Choir and Band went to MICCA, a Massachusetts Instrumental and Choral competition, and both brought home Silver medals for their respective categories.  Every year we also have representatives in the District Music and Choral groups and some even make the All-State groups.

Not only has this mascot been a part of the school’s history for nearly 60 years, it is part of our local culture. The former Native American name for the area now known as Stow, was referred to as Pompositticut, many of our road names throughout the three towns have ties with Native American culture, ie: Nashaway (a group part of the Algonquin tribe), and with the Native tribe to our area being the Wampanoag people.

Here at Nashoba, we take pride in the Chieftain name. We understand what the Chieftain represents in our community. Our core values as a school are Integrity, Communicate, Achieve, Relate, and Engage. These are all qualities that contribute to becoming a prominent leader. Being a Chieftain at Nashoba is much more than just a mascot, it shows who we are. We are leaders, and we will continue to represent the Chieftains as we graduate and take on new challenges in our chosen fields of studies and careers.  Once a proud Chieftain, always a proud Chieftain.  Keep the legacy alive!