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Students and staff react to WFISD’s new school names
August 6, 2021
Rider faculty and students had a mixed reaction over WFISD’s recent decision to name the two new high schools Legacy and Memorial.
The school board had the option of choosing any of five names each of the two campus naming committees came up with. They also had the option of choosing an alternative name at the July 19 meeting.
Ultimately, they went with committee recommendations as the school on Kell will be called Memorial and the campus off Henry S. Grace Freeway will be Legacy.
At tonight's board meeting, trustees approved the names of the two new high schools. The Henry S. Grace Fwy school will be Wichita Falls Legacy High School. The Kell Blvd school will be Wichita Falls Memorial High School. pic.twitter.com/iOVvijgyAL
— Wichita Falls ISD (@WFISDschools) July 20, 2021
“I think the names chosen were generic, nothing really memorable or particularly unique,” Rider teacher Stacie Martin said. “The names were ‘safe.’ The board wanted to wipe away the names of RHS, HHS and WFHS. They did just that.”
Senior Kendall Grimes thought the selections were the “best ones on the short list.” Other options for the Kell campus were Unity, West, Westview and Kell. The committee’s eastern campus options were Wichita Falls High School, East, Veterans and Summit.
Counselor Alisha Crouch was Rider’s lone representative on the naming committee and said she was “in the middle” when asked her feelings about Memorial and Legacy.
“The two names I despised the most were East and West, because there are over 60 schools in Texas that have directional names, and they are so generic,” Crouch said. “We deserved to have identities, not just take the easy way out and name it off the sides of town they are located on.
“As for the names that were chosen, I liked Legacy Park better because there are six other Legacy high schools in Texas, but no other Legacy Park high schools.”
Current staff, however, aren’t the only ones disappointed in the new names.
“I’ll be sad to see two schools with such a deep connection to their names be left behind for such cookie-cutter names,” senior Emily Collins said. “Wichita Falls is anything but cookie cutter, so I really don’t see them as fitting. I wish there had been more thought and character out into them as the two previous schools had.”
Throughout the years, Rider has always been known for its traditions. Since the schools have been given new names, it is now being pondered whether old traditions will be kept or new ones will be made.
“I’m sure some will, but there isn’t the same nostalgia with things like tradition that are half done,” Collins said. “I know I’m very biased in saying I’ll be sad to see new traditions because for the most of it that I’ll see it won’t be a tradition at all, it will just be random.”
Martin has faith in the traditions to be made, in that we have “good creative people” and hopes to assist in the process.
One potential problem created by the names is that the Kell campus was assigned the same name as the shared stadium, Memorial Stadium. Opinions contrast from ones like Crouch, who presumes they will change the name of the stadium, to those like Martin, who remembers the tradition and honor the stadium holds and believes such honor should be maintained.
In the forthcoming months, new colors and mascots are to be decided.
“I hope that the mascot/color selection process goes smoothly and that we can be proud of what’s chosen,” Crouch said. “There are a lot of unanswered questions still ahead, but I hope to help the student body at the new schools be able to develop traditions that they can be just as proud of as we are of our ROHO traditions and family.”