VIDEO: Serra High School is changing its name after a unanimous school board vote

Kumeyaay Nation leaders supporting the move to Canyon Hill High

Serra High School

Noelle Mortensen

Serra High School will change its name to Canyon Hills. Noelle Mortensen/City Times Media

Noelle Mortensen, Multimedia Journalist

Serra High School is changing its name, mascot and colors after a successful student petition and vote by the San Diego Unified School Board.

Going forward the school will be called Canyon Hills High School and its mascot will be the Rattlers. The colors will also be changed to red and black.

The decision came after two students researched the school’s namesake and his deep ties to assimilating indigenous people. Junipero Serra is also responsible for founding the California mission system. 

As for the school’s mascot, the conquistadors are linked to the death of millions of natives in the San Diego region. 

Together, both are associated with seizing land that originally belonged to the Kumeyaay people. 

The changes were taken to the San Diego Unified School Board, which unanimously voted in favor of the change Tuesday.

Leaders of the Kumeyaay Nation and local tribes thanked the students who brought awareness to the history and expressed their support for the change. 

“This very important name change starts the process of telling the truth,” said Angela Elliot-Santos, chair of the Manzanita Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, at the school board meeting.  “We strongly support the name change proposed and their translation into the Kumeyaay language. The change will provide for a more accurate and ethical view of history.” 

It’s not yet known when the change will take place for the school, which was opened in 1976.