Students Choose 'Hawks' To Replace Rebel Mascot At Hays High School
Hays High School students voted Monday to embrace "the hawks" as their new school mascot after a largely student-led effort to replace the rebel.
The rebel had represented the school for decades. School board members retired the symbol last year because of its racist past.
"It's been an ongoing discussion in the community really for 20 years," district spokesman Tim Savoy said. "Because at one point there was the Confederate flag, and Dixie, and the rebels."
The district eliminated the Confederate flag as an official school symbol in 2000 and again in 2012 because it still appeared on school uniforms. The marching band stopped playing "Dixie," considered the anthem of the Confederacy, in 2015.
"We're looking ahead toward making [the students'] choice come to life."
Savoy said he knows replacing the mascot has been an emotionally charged issue. Initial conversations were brought about in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd, when many institutions were thinking about their own history of racism.
"We're hoping that [people] can get excited and begin to rally around a mascot. And really get excited about the design phase and seeing the new concept come together," he said. "We're looking ahead toward making [the students'] choice come to life."
Now, the district is tasked with logistics. In the next few months it will work with a graphic design and branding team to envisage a new look. Hays High School Principal David Pierce and Superintendent Eric Wright will then vote on the final design. The district said if more than one logo comes up in the design process, students may get to vote on that, too.
The cost of the new design is projected to be about $800,000, though the district said in a press release it hopes "to complete the transition below that amount." The bulk of the money will go to replacing uniforms for the school band and sports teams. Additional large one-time expenses include replacing the floor logos in the gym and the front entrance marquee.
The nomination and selection process was entirely student led. Students suggested the raptors and the honey badgers, before ultimately deciding on the hawks. Almost a third of the nearly 1,500 students who voted choose the hawks.
The district hopes to have the new logo fully integrated on campus in time for the 2021–2022 school year. A full planning timeline is available on the school's website.
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