Alumni fight to save the legacy of WF high schools

Published: Jan. 15, 2022 at 7:17 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Supporters of a petition called “Save The Name Coyotes” that is hoping to save the legacy of the three Wichita Falls high schools, specifically “Old High,” met in front of the school on Saturday.

“The proposal that’s out there would eliminate the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes mascot, and it would eliminate the nicknames for the school which is the high school and Old High,” said Laura Liles-Mcconnell, a supporter of the Save The Names petition and alumnae of Wichita Falls High School.

The petition has been posted online for a month by those fighting to keep the legacies of Rider, Hirschi, and Wichita Falls High Schools alive. So far the group has over 8,000 signatures with the hopes of getting 10,000 in total before presenting it to the WFISD school board on Tuesday.

“I know one of the arguments going around is why not let future generations build their own traditions and our argument to that is, why not give these kids something to build on? We already have a great foundation and traditions here at Wichita Falls High,” said Liles-Mcconnell.

The petition proposes to give the two new high schools, Legacy and Memorial, the Wichita Falls High School Coyotes and Rider High School Rider Raiders mascots along with the school colors. They hope to make Hirschi Junior High School the Huskies and Booker T. Washington Junior High School the Leopards.

“It would be remiss of me to not say how frustrated it is when people talk about the new names as if Hirschi doesn’t exist in Wichita Falls. They know it’s the third high school but you’re telling me that in the current status in the way that the schools are you equate Barwise, McNeil, and Kirby to the same stature you hold Old High, Rider, and Hirschi and that’s not true,” said Marquise Bell, a Hirschi High School alumni.

“If we’re going to keep names I feel like we should keep names based on what they’ve done in recent years. In the last nine years, I can attest for Hirschi that after I won state that there’s been a constant success and we’re just as smart as anybody else,” said Dominique Bobo, a Hirschi High School alumni.

“Nobody is deliberately trying to exclude Hirschi and there’s no racial issue going on. Like I said, I don’t know why one of the organizers of the petition put Rider on the other high school. I can’t answer for his opinion but I know coming from Ernie and I, we don’t have a preference, we just would like to see Coyotes listed on Legacy,” said Liles-Mcconnell. “Maybe there wasn’t even enough consideration given to the opinions of the alumni at Hirschi and Rider. Maybe we all need to go back to the drawing board. I know the two schools are in the process of being built but let’s discuss again and figure out the best way to preserve the names, the mascots and the legacy.”

“I truly think that it should be Hirschi as a high school, Old High as a middle school, and Rider as a high school, that way everybody gets to keep their namesake,” said Bobo.

The supporters of the “Save The Name Coyotes” petition are planning to take it to the WFISD school board meeting on Tuesday.

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