A Jan. 25 Hays CISD news release announced the selection of the Hawks as the new mascot, which received 461 of 1,453 student votes. Current students in grades 9 through 11 who will attend HHS next year and students in the feeder pattern made nominations and voted, the district said.
The top five nominations on the final ballot were the Hawks, Raptors, Honey Badgers, Dragons and Hornets. Raptors were the second most popular option with 376 votes. Students were not allowed to nominate mascots from other middle schools and high schools in the district because those campuses have competition fine arts and athletic teams, the release said.
Hemphill Elementary School's mascot, the Hawks, did not factor in because the school does not feed into HHS and the district anticipated no conflicts. Hemphill's mascot will not be affected by the change.
In the next step, HCISD's graphic design and branding partners will begin working on a logo and branding package, which will continue to be red and blue, the release said.
Once a package is chosen, new student uniforms will be ordered and signage around the building will begin to be replaced, with the total cost estimated to reach as much as $800,000. However, the district noted its hope the final total will come in below the estimate. Band and athletic uniforms will account for the bulk of the expenses.
The funds will be sourced from the district's operating budget or fund balance, and the entire uniform replacement cost will be in the upcoming school year's budget, the release said.
Larger, one-time expenses will include replacing the school's gym floor logos, equipment vehicles and the school's front entrance marquee.
Replacing the Confederate mascot became a hot-button issue after the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died while in police custody in May, which sparked a series of protests and uprising in dozens of countries around the world.
The HCISD board of trustees voted unanimously July 16 to phase the mascot out after a heated period of debate. The Rebels mascot, a tribute to the Confederacy, was selected near the height of the civil rights movement in the late 1960s.
The district said students who do not wish to sport the Rebels logo have not been, and will not be, required to wear uniforms or clothing adorned by it.
More details about the student nomination process can be found on the district's website.