MIDLAND, Texas (Big 2/Fox 24) – Midland ISD Board of Trustees voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School to Legacy High School. After months of deliberation and three nominations by the Citizen’s Committee, trustees voted on a completely new name.
Christian Shedwin says it has been a personal topic over the course of several months as he is a Robert E. Lee alum and a black man.
“I think this was very important that it was done while I was alive and very important for the kids that come after me that look just like me,” said Shedwin. “I was a Lee grad who participated in band, choir, theater, and orchestra. You know, I danced with the Dixie Dolls, I was a TMEA All-Stater, and I don’t think that a name on the building would’ve taken away from any of those things. So to say that it was going to erase the history – it’s just not true.”
Shedwin believes the last few months have been an eye-opener for a lot of Midland residents, regardless of their political views. He says in the midst of national unrest, it is all about leaning in.
“You know, people that have a difference in opinion, I think that’s okay. I think we’re all entitled to our opinion. But me personally, for those that thought differently than I, I thought they should’ve just listened,” said Shedwin.
But for President of “Save Lee Rebels.” Carie McNeil, it is wiping away 60 years of tradition.
“We have people that have gone on and done amazing things from Lee High School, and that’s not going to be a legacy. You start over. I don’t care what they say.”
McNeil says many are frustrated after the Midland ISD Board of Trustees disregarded the nominations of the Citizen’s Committee.
“Mr. Davis blew them off. He went with his very own name. I know for a fact that there is a conversation going on out there with an attorney about a recall.”
For Sarah Hale, a member of that Citizen’s Committee, it is a decision she is willing to accept. However, it is the integrity and timing of the decision that disappoints her.
“I just feel like it could have gone a different direction, handled a different way, so that we could’ve actually made progress on this front. I feel like nobody really won last night,” explained Hale.
Courtney Ratliff who spearheaded the initiative to change the name says he hopes with time, both sides will see eye-to-eye.
“I hope that in time what they will see and understand is that we’ve gained something. We’ve gained a new outlook, a new perspective, a new image for Midland Texas.”