School officials debut new Westside High

by: Jessie McDonough Updated:

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For years there has been a community controversy over the name of the school, formerly known as Nathan Bedford Forrest High School.  Forrest had connections to the KKK and the Westside community felt so strongly about it, that they had the student body vote on a name change.

The school unveiled the expensive name and mascot change on Friday

The Nathan Bedford Forrest Rebels are now the Westside Wolverines --however the principal, Dr. Gregory D. Bostic, told Action News they still need donations to pay for the hefty price tag of the name change.

Miss Westside senior Mikayla Stanfield says it used to be uncomfortable to tell people on the Westside where she went to school.

"I don't feel like when I am walking down the street and people ask me what school i go to and i say Forrest and they are looking at me like do you not know," Stanfield said.

Stanfield wasn't the only one upset about the Forrest name. More than half the student body voted to do away with the name and its connections to the KKK.

"It's like a weight off my shoulders," she said.

The other issue with the name change was the price tag.

"About $242,000," said Dr. Bostic.

Most of that money went toward brand new sports uniforms. But the school signs, gym lettering and mascot were changed as well. That bill was paid out of the district's operations' fund and Bostic insists the students won’t be missing out anything.

"We are not sacrificing anything, textbooks are arriving," he said.

He says the newly named Westside High School could still use some help from the community.

"We are at about $3,000 but we are still accepting donations," Bostic said.

Anyone who wishes to contribute to the name change can do so on the Duval County School Board's website.

The school board also voted unanimously on the name change 7-0.