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Pinellas High School Drops 'Dixie' And 'Rebel' References

gymnasium
PINELLAS COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
Dixie M. Hollins High opened in 1959.

The St. Petersburg high school was named after Pinellas County's first school superintendent.

A Pinellas County high school's nickname and mascot that unintentionally referred to the Confederacy are being retired.

The school district on Monday said Dixie M. Hollins High School will remain the official name, but will be referred to as Hollins High moving forward. The school's Rebel mascot also is being replaced immediately and its teams will be called Royals.

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The change comes about a month after students created a petition on Change.org and more than 800 people signed it. Principal Bob Florio said he and the staff agreed with the students and the proposal was shared with students on the first day of school.

Opened in St. Petersburg in 1959, Hollins High School was named after the school district's first superintendent. While his name makes references to the Confederacy, the school district said Hollins was responsible for making sure Black students were taught by certified teachers, and when Hollins led the district, he helped implement changes that allowed Black students to attend school all day, and for more than just a few months a year. He also donated land where Madeira Beach Elementary and Middle Schools now site.

Florio said a new logo will be created by the school's Academy of Entertainment Arts students and the entire student body will select a winner.

Also, the school will make changes to its marquee, signage, website and social media platforms throughout the academic year.