High schools diverge over ‘Dixie’

Posted: Saturday, October 20, 2012
Associated Press

AUSTIN — For two Central Texas school districts, football games have revived an old debate about the Old South — whether to play “Dixie.”

Travis High School in Austin this fall replaced “Dixie” with “Travis Fight” after touchdowns. But Hays High School in Buda, south of Austin, is keeping the song for now, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

“Dixie” is known as a Confederate anthem that can evoke both the traditions of a proud state and region, as well as slavery and prejudice.

At Hays — where the players are called the “Rebels” — discussion about “Dixie” comes months after two students were accused of writing racial slurs and urinating on the door of a black teacher’s classroom.

Hays school board president Willie Tenorio Jr. told the newspaper that the board was still reviewing recommendations made following that incident. Tenorio said any potential changes to the song or the Rebels mascot would not be made in the immediate future.

“I think at this point our plate is pretty full,” Tenorio said.

Josh Sanchez, a father of two Hays school district students, said he would support changing the fight song and the mascot. Sanchez said he still sees Confederate flags in the community.

“It’s something that’s ingrained in some people, but what does a song or the image of a rebel soldier have to do with 2012?” Sanchez told the newspaper. “I don’t want us to wait until there is another big incident where property is destroyed or somebody gets hurt.”

At Travis, teachers and others talked about changing the school’s fight song for about a year, district spokesman Alex Sanchez said.

Nancy Walker-Richburg, who graduated from Travis in 1973, said “Dixie” was a proud tradition for fans and alumni.

“It’s been that way for generations,” Walker-Richburg told the newspaper. “It didn’t matter if you were black, white or purple — everybody would sing it together with pride and you would … get chills.”

But Tiffany Herrera, whose oldest son was a Travis player, said she refused to stand up or clap when Dixie was played.

“Everyone seems to like (the new song),” Herrera said. “Everyone participates.”

© 2012 The Associated Press.

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