Correspondence about Presidio High School name change
My name is Isaac Neri, and I graduated from PHS in 2005. I am in disgust to hear that the school board wants to change the name of the school without the consent of the people or letting anyone know about this. The name Presidio High School has long been a tradition and it represents the name well.
If anything, the school should be changed to Robert Coffman Academy. Mr. Coffman did more for the school than anyone I know.
Isaac Neri, Video Editor
The Ultimate Fighting Championship
Las Vegas, Nevada
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I graduated from PHS in 2006, and I disagree with the people trying to rename our school. Our memories are with Presidio High School, our yearbook carries that name, our shirts, and our rings. If they change the name it will look like all memories have been erased.
We want PHS at it is, a school from a small town, not something to be be renamed every time they want just because they want to “support the name of someone that helped the school.”
I suggest a plaque at the park or football field instead of changing the name of our alma mater.
Please don’t support the school renaming.
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As a graduate of the PHS class of 2006, I’d like to keep its original name, so I’m against the high school name change.
Las Vegas, Nevada
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I am quite sure there are many other complaints out there about changing the name of Presidio High School to William Soza Academy. I understand that Mr. Soza has helped many of us, but I do not think this is the best way to honor him.
I am proud I came out of Presidio High School. The name will always be Presidio High School, or the “high school” even if they change the name.
In this sense, Mr. Soza’s name will not be as noticed and may be forgotten. Such is the case of the middle school. I have not heard people referring to the middle school as “Lucy Rede Franco Middle School,” only “Franco Middle School.”
I think, personally, that there are better ways to honor this great man who did many good things for all of us.
Lastly, and maybe not as important, but what would the mascot be of William Soza Academy? Would it be Soza’s Blue Devils? These are a few things that need to be considered.
I am a proud Blue Devil of the Class of 2001 of Presidio High School.
I hope no one gets offended at what I say, but that is my opinion on the issue.
Ramon G. Deanda
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I was a graduate of the Presidio High School Class of 2001. I am against the name change for Presidio High School because this has been our name since I can remember.
I do think Mr. Soza should be commemorated for what he has done for the students at Presidio High School. Like Ms. Farmer said, another building could be named after him but not the High School that has worked so hard to get recognition.
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It has come to my attention that the PISD school board wants to change the name of Presidio High School to William Soza Academy. At first, I took a stand of neutrality, but after much thought I have become against the idea/action.
First, from what I am informed the school board made this decision without informing the community. This decision should be left in the hands of the citizens of Presidio and if the name change holds then so be it. Leaving this decision to a couple of people is far from consensus. People’s opinions and voices should be heard.
Second, William Soza should be recognized, but why now? Why does the recognition have to be after his death. As a community we should have done something for him to see. I want to know what are the reasons or motives for the name change. I might be going to an extreme, but this sounds like if an ulterior motive exists, like money.
Finally, Mr. Soza did in fact help many students further their education through scholarships. However, money only makes situations easier but does not help in any other way. We should be recognizing those who have put time and effort to helping students. Money should not be a motive to changing a name. Some community members have thrown out the idea that if a name change should occur, it should be the name of the late Robert Coffman, the high school counselor who helped every single graduate that is in college. Everyone in Presidio, if asked, will say that they were helped greatly by Mr. Coffman. Again, I feel this issue is about money, but like I said money does not go a long way.
I do want to mention that I am one of the Presidio graduates that Mr. Soza helped with a scholarship. He was a great man that helped many students toward a path of success. Because of this his memory should be recognized in some way, just not by a name change.
PHS Class of 2007
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I am a former student and a graduate of Presidio High School. I strongly disagree with the name change. It has been Presidio High School and it should be kept that way.
Make a monument like the one in front of the football field.
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I want to touch base with you regarding the news about PHS being renamed in honor of Mr. Soza. I was unaware that plans had moved forward on this. I actually saw Susan a month ago.
Today, though, there were comments on Facebook from some of my friends, about the renaming and people being unaware of this, even though it was a decision made back in December. I think concerns were about some people, not all, being in dark about this news.
This was my response to a post, just so you know I’m in support of the decision.
I don’t know much about the decision-making process, so I won’t comment on that, but I’m glad it was approved. I just hope there is no backlash on this or bad press, other than what’s on Facebook, and you know news travels fast on Facebook. I just wish it was with a positive spin, not negative, like it’s already starting.
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Back on December 20, 2011, right before the Christmas holiday, when most people had already left town for the Christmas holidays, the school board of the Presidio ISD changed the name of Presidio High School, then told no one that they had done so. Today, May 22, 2012, someone posted this information on Facebook. Needless to say, much controversy has been stirred in the graduate community.
The school board wishes to honor the memory and name of Mr. William Soza, who has given many scholarships to PHS graduating seniors. He was a wonderful man and definitely needs to be honored.
Naming the school for Mr. Soza without telling the community, and in a sneaky way (by doing it at a school board meeting that no one attended because it was right before the holiday) is not the type of honor with which Mr. Soza’s name should be associated.
There is a community swimming pool to be built, and there is to be a new gymnasium at Presidio High School. Either of those buildings could be named for Mr. Soza. The academic building could be named for Mr. Soza.
If the school board wishes to change the name of the school, this change should be put to the people of Presidio in the form of a referendum. If it passes, then the community will have spoken, and that’s the way it should be.
Madelyn C Farmer
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As former Presidio High School alumni from the classes of 2007 and 2010, we make our voices heard when we say we vote against the name change on our school.
However, we do believe Mr. Soza should be honored because he has given so much to our school, but we think the new high school gym or our new community pool should be named after him.
The decision to rename our high school without considering the community and staff beforehand just reinforces everyone’s anger against the whole subject.
Had it been done differently, maybe we would have agreed on naming our high school after Mr. Soza.
Margarito & Brisa Hernandez
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I write this short letter to lend my support against renaming Presidio High School.
I graduated from PHS last year and I don’t want my high school renamed.
My graduation ring says Presidio High School, not William Soza Academy.
I hope this helps the people of Presidio to be heard because apparently no one wants this change.
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To my school board members and citizens of Presidio,
This concerns the name change of Presidio High School to William Soza Academy. I just found out about this decision today, Tuesday, May 22, 2012, but our school board made this decision in December 2011. I have to wonder why was this not brought to anyone’s attention. Why was it kept so secret? Why was there no discussion with the community, the staff, the students, anyone?
No offense to the Soza family. He was a very good person who gave quite a bit of money in scholarships to our students, but I think that renaming our only high school after him is a bit extreme. I think maybe the new addition that will be built or the library, or our new community swimming pool should be named after Mr. Soza.
This name change will be costly to say the least in a time when all we hear about is how the school has no money. Really?
This affects us all, the past, present and future Presidio High School Blue Devils.
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I have worked with the Presidio School District for 15 years and to think that the school board would even consider changing the name of Presidio High School without giving a second thought to the alumni and present students is totally unthinkable. This is outrageous.
If the school board wishes to honor Mr. Soza, name the new public pool after him. That way the whole community can feel more a part of the honor. But please leave our school name Presidio.
After all, it is PHS that flies high and even went to Washington. To change the name of the high school would be such an insult to all it has stood for and all the students who have gone to this fantastic institution.
The way it was done should be a sign that did not want the public to know about it. This is a public school and the public should have a say in any decision of this size.
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First and foremost, I would like to clear up that at least from my part there is nothing that I have against Mr. Soza. He was a great man who helped many of us further our education. With the scholarships that he generously gave out to Presidio High School students, he gave many of us opportunities that we otherwise might not have had.
I recently found out that in the school board meeting back in December, the discussion and renaming of Presidio High school took place, and that it was discussed at length and the a certain individual moved to the renaming, it was seconded, and eventually the motion carried.
Why was this kept on the down low for so long? Why was it not mentioned earlier? Was the plan to leave it hidden until graduation and a four-hour ceremony, and then surprise?
There were many former and non-former students who discussed and gave our opinion on this issue on Facebook. No, it is not the most formal way of doing it but it is where we feel safe doing it. Why? Because it seems that sadly, in recent years, our little town has been overruled by politics and money. Some are scared of doing something as simple as voicing their opinion, because they hold fear of losing their job, not being heard among other reasons.
There have been many great people who have done wonders for Presidio High School. Not too long ago PHS lost a great man by the name of Robert Coffman. He constantly went out of his way to Presidio students succeed. There are many, many of us I am positive who wouldn’t have been where we are if it wasn’t for him.
Years and years of hard work was put forth by him day after day. He not only pushed and pushed us to do applications, thank you notes, numerous of tests and the list goes on. Why not name the school after him? After all he is one of the many reasons many of us walked that stage.
Several people mentioned in the Facebook discussion that it is already hard enough to get people to recognize our small town, so why not leave the name as it is. That way when our school accomplishes something great as our athletic department has and will keep on doing, or the rocketry team meeting the president of the United States can put our town and school’s name out there. Let us be recognized as Presidio High School from Presidio, Texas.
There are many ways to honor Mr. Soza and all of the other great people who have helped us shape our school. As many discussed on Facebook, how about naming a street, a hall, the gym, or building a gazebo and name it in honor of Mr. Soza? There are numerous ways. It’s the students and teachers who form Presidio High School.
Are we no longer going to be the Blue Devils? Will our mascot that has been with us for years suddenly change into a money sign? Let’s hope not.
PHS class of 2008
now attending Sul Ross State University
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I graduated from Presidio High School in 2005. In fact, I went to school in Presidio from pre-kindergarten to high school. I have recently been informed that a decision was made by the Board of Trustees on December 20, 2011 to change the name of the high school to honor of William Soza.
I don’t know much about Mr. Soza except that he also graduated from Presidio High School and that he has been able to offer several scholarships to the students of Presidio. I was one of the many recipients of the scholarships funded by Mr. Soza and I am extremely grateful.
However, when I learned that the name of the high school had been changed, after the shock of such a thing happening, I felt disappointed, perhaps sad even.
With the name change the school would still be the same, it will not have changed the school from which I graduated, and it will not change who I am. The name is simply a symbol that identifies and unites those who have graduated from Presidio High School, those who have taught there, or had any role to play in it.
Maybe what I feel is premature nostalgia. What is certain is the discontent of several fellow classmates and other alumni in regard to the name change. It is this sentiment that I wish to share.
The renaming of the school should be a process that invites the participation of students, teachers, community members, and alumni.
Ramiro N. Valenzuela
Story filed under: West Texas Talk