Vestavia Hills High School in suburban Birmingham, Ala., is spending $30,000 to rebrand its Rebels nickname to “1Rebel,” according to reports.
The rebranding includes a video produced by the firm Knight Eady promoting why the district made the change to ‘1Rebel.’ In one part of the video, the narrator says the change pays homage to students in the 1970s who switched from nearby Berry High School to the new Vestavia Hills High School.
“These trailblazers chose to leave Berry High School where their friends and even siblings attended,” the narrator says. “These students defined what it meant to be a rebel, because they had the courage to do something different, and ultimately, they paved the way for a school that would be unique and stand above the rest.”
Last July, Vestavia Hills decided to remove the “Southern Rebel” older gentleman mascot, which the University of Mississippi did in 2010 with its “Colonel Reb” mascot while keeping the Rebels nickname. Like Ole Miss, it appeared Vestavia Hills was attempting to distance itself from any connection to the Confederacy that ruled the South during the Civil War.
After the Vestavia Hills decision was announced, a man sued the school’s superintendent and Board of Education, claiming they made the decision to change the Rebels name before allowing the public to comment. The lawsuit also claimed the school had already made its decision when a flooring company the school had contracted began installing a new gym floor (with the school’s initials on it, rather than “Rebels”) prior to the July 8 board meeting.
A complete rebranding package is expected next month, AL.com reported. The newspaper’s columnist, John Archibald, is not satisfied with the rebranding, writing, “It’s still a rebel, with all the tangled history it brought in the first place.”