BUDA, Texas (KXAN) — Say hello to the Hays High School Hawks!
After a months-long process to find a new mascot for the school, the Hays Consolidated Independent School District announced the Hawks snatched the victory, winning 461 votes from 1,453 students who voted.
Other mascots that were up for consideration were dragons (267 votes), honey badgers (191) and hornets (157).
The new mascot selection — estimated to have cost the school up to $800,000 — happened after the district’s decision last summer to retire its controversial Rebel mascot, which had ties to the Confederacy.
Last July, the district’s board of trustees voted unanimously to phase out the mascot by removing images on the school’s website and around school property. Since the decision, Hays CISD said students who were uncomfortable wearing Rebel gear were not forced to do so.
At that time, a district survey asked students and staff members how they felt about the Rebel. More than 50% of staff said they felt uncomfortable with it and so were about 40% of students.
“This decision isn’t about the past it’s about moving forward,” Tim Savoy, the district’s chief communication officer, said last July. “We know better now how the connections to the Confederacy affect people. We know how hurtful those symbols can be to people. Looking ahead there just really isn’t a way that we believe we cannot justify keeping any of those symbols because we know now.”
Hays CISD said its next move is creating an overall graphic design and branding aesthetic, although the school’s colors will remain red and blue. An expected timeline for changes can be found at Hays High School Mascot Planning Timeline.
The mascot’s removal came after months of nationwide movements toward social justice, including the removal of monuments to the Confederacy across the country.