Hawk Pride: A Step Above
Hawk Pride: A Step Above
I made this petition to make sure that logo at Harlingen South does not resemble the cardinal and the school colors remain the same (Green/orange/white) for all uniforms/regalia/spirit wear. This issue affects the current and former students, faculty, staff of Harlingen South and we need to change this now. Please sign and share with others.
My name is Dr. Lizette (Torres) Goodloe and I am a proud graduate of Harlingen South High School Class of 2000. I was an active member of various organizations and took pride in every aspect of our campus. As the daughter of Coach Gus Torres, a member of the inaugural football coaching staff, I knew I was going to be a Hawk. Although I was very young when the beloved Harlingen High School campus split; one which caused much heartache and division within our community, I always knew that this decision was for the best. The first four years at South were difficult as many community members showed their deep dislike for this decision and took their frustration out on the young people that attended Harlingen South. From the booing at Bird Bowl games, to families wearing red and white to Hawk games the disrespect was intense. Despite all of these growing pains, we managed to excel academically, win multiple championships in athletics, and establish a culture of excellence.
My principal, Mr. Guadalupe Nava established this culture and instilled pride in our school, our community, and ourselves as Hawks. “Hawk Pride: A Step Above” was our motto and we believed it. When people from Harlingen High School defaced our campus, booed while we proudly sung our alma mater, or laughed when we were defeated, we managed to hold our heads high knowing that we were Hawks. Those experiences helped define who we were as a campus and eventually Hawk Pride spread like wildfire.
As time passed, coaches and teachers retired from Harlingen South and it was time for a new wave of educators to walk the halls of South. While the academic standard of excellence never wavered, the same cannot be said for the athletic department. Coach Alex Leal was the inaugural head football coach and was well respected across the state, considering he was the winningest Hispanic football coach in Texas at the time. He built a winning program, but more importantly he showed young men what they needed to do to be productive people in the community. When Coach Leal retired, the school board had the opportunity to hire a coach from within the staff by the name of Gilbert Salinas, a long time Harlingen football coach yet decided to hire from outside the community in John Lerma. While Coach Lerma carried the torch and made little changes to the inaugural coaching staff, things changed because he was unfamiliar with the culture that had been established. This trend continued as evidenced by the hiring of Jim Helms, Alan Cherry, Gilbert Leal, Lenny Wilks, Brian Ricci, and more recently Israel Gonzalez. While all these men came from successful programs and believed they could turn the program around or establish their culture one thing remains constant, none of these coaches are familiar with the motto, Hawk Pride: A Step Above.
With each coach came a new set of standards, the changing of logos or uniform colors, and their attempt to “rebuild” a program. As a proud alumna I have watched how our beloved school and mascot has transformed as new administration has gained control. Unfortunately, there has yet to be an alumnus that has been hired to lead the school, athletic department, or any other aspect of the campus. Yet alumni from the other campus are deemed suitable to lead South, despite showing their dislike towards South in their younger years. In my opinion, we have many brilliant, capable, and certified alumni who are educators that can occupy these very positions, yet they aren’t being hired. Now I am uncertain if they are applying, I’d like to believe they are, and I know some have because they want to continue building the Hawk culture that was created by those who poured the foundation. Unfortunately, that foundation was never allowed to settle and with each new leader more and more changes were made which destroyed the identity of the Harlingen South culture. Academically our young hawks have continued to dominate and that is fantastic, but athletically they haven’t fared as well due to the turnover at the helm of the athletic department.
The new coach has decided to change the logo, yet again to resemble the beloved cardinal and that is unacceptable. This is a slap in the face to all of the alumni of Harlingen South and the current Hawks who roam the halls of this great campus. The leaders who are responsible for the destruction of a culture that was thriving needs to finally be held responsible. I know change is necessary and is a part of any successful organization, however there are some aspects that must remain constant because that is what ties us all together. We believe that the logo needs to change back to the original hawk or the hawk of the 2000s and the original school colors of green, orange, and white. The use of black uniforms or black at all is not a part of the history of the school and should not be allowed because that chips away at the culture.
We welcome a conversation about these important aspects of the history of Harlingen South and we look forward to your prompt response. Thank you for your time and consideration in these matters.