By Lillian Morales Turner
I am a Fresno High Warrior. I attended Fresno High School from 1984 to 1988, and those were very memorable years for me. I remember being proud of my school, its traditions and rich history, the architecture, my teachers, classmates, and our mascot. Other high schools in town had Tigers, Highlanders, Knights, Roughriders, Patriots, and Grizzlies, but we were the WARRIORS!
During my years at Fresno High, I had classmates who were made up of every different race under the sun. To this day, I’m still friends with many of them and we are all proud to be Warrior Alumni. I feel blessed to have learned about many of their cultures and traditions not only in the classroom, but also firsthand from them personally. I know in these crazy times it seems like everybody has something to be offended about, and currently there is a debate about the Warrior mascot being offensive to Native Americans. A Warrior is defined as “a brave or experienced soldier or fighter” and is used to describe a person “who is very strong and doesn’t give up easily”. I know people who have battled cancer ‘like a warrior’, in church we are called to be ‘prayer warriors’ and be committed to pray fervently for others, and even our service men and women are called ‘warriors’. I believe the Warrior is proud, strong, dependable, fierce, trustworthy, honorable, and loyal. I can’t understand how our mascot can be interpreted as being offensive; on the contrary, I think it honors our Native American friends, and should be kept as Fresno High’s mascot.
Fresno High has always been a diverse high school, and students from all walks of life attend and have graduated from there. I remember during my senior year one of my classmates’ mother passed away shortly before graduation, another became the first female in the Valley to earn a spot and play on the varsity football team, and yet another survived a horrific car accident. All Warriors, all resilient, all strong. The courage and strength I witnessed these individuals display made me even prouder to be a Warrior. I learned a lot in the classroom, but even more watching my classmates overcome huge obstacles.
As a Mexican-American woman, there are so many things that could offend me, and because of this, I do my best to see all sides of a dispute. I understand some Native Americans are upset and feel that the Warrior mascot depicts their culture in a negative way, but when I look at it, I see a proud person, one who stands strong, has integrity, and makes those around him strive to be better and lead the way for others, very much like we all hope to be and do. To change over 130 years of pride, tradition, and values saddens me. I don’t support changing the Fresno High Warrior because it stands for so much of what is lacking in our society today…Honor, Tradition, and Excellence.