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The Disappearing Scarlet Hawk

Is Milford High School home of the hawks, or the scarlet hawks? When did the color in the name get dropped, and why?

Are you a Milford Scarlet Hawk? Maybe you just think you are.

The team name at hasn't changed. But at some point, the name became "Milford Hawks" on everything from team shirts to the floor mats in the high school building.

And it has some alumni seeing — you guessed it — scarlet!

The "Hawks" vs. "Scarlet Hawks" issue popped up on Facebook recently, where some Milford alumni asked when "Scarlet Hawks" disappeared — and why. Decades ago, according to alumni, the name was the Milford Scarlets. Then it became the Milford Scarlet Hawks by the early 70s.

Now it seems to have morphed again, to the Milford Hawks.

No one interviewed by Milford Patch knew when or why the name disappeared from signs, school murals and team gear. The official records still remain the same: Milford High is the home of the Scarlet Hawks.

"We are the Scarlet Hawks," said Athletic Director Richard Piergustavo.

On all the official documentation of the athletics teams, he said, "Scarlet Hawks" is the name.

The entrance sign to the school, on West Fountain Street, says Milford High School "Scarlet Hawks."

But inside, it's all "Milford Hawks," including on the murals above the lockers and on the carpeted doormats.

Has the word "scarlet" become taboo in some way? Google the word online and you'll find mothers saying they won't name a daughter that because of "negative associations" to things like scarlet fever, the Scarlet Letter, even Scarlett O'Hara.

This doesn't seem to be the reason for the dropped name in Milford, where "The Scarlet Letter" is the name of the high school newspaper.

Superintendent Robert Tremblay isn't sure, but said he suspects the name was abbreviated on team wear for convenience, and the yearbooks seem to show "Hawks" and "Scarlet Hawks" being used interchangeably.

"It seems it's just become a simplification," he said. "It's not changed, to my knowledge."

Patrick Holland, the School Committee chairman, graduated from the high school in 1994. At that time, the uniforms were red and white, and everyone knew the teams were the "Scarlet Hawks." Holland said he first noticed the disappearing name about a year ago. He isn't sure why it went away. But he knows which one he prefers.

"We are still the Scarlet Hawks."

Brian Long August 03, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Thank you for this, Mary. It helps bring awareness to the branding issue the school currently faces, as well as the displeasure of many alumni about the "change". It is comforting to know that the official name of Milford is stil lthe "Scarlet Hawks", and now it is time to push to make sure everything that says "Hawks" is changed to "Scarlet Hawks". Thank you again!
Juan Rivera August 03, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Yea, man. This is disappointing. My Cousins and I attended MHS and although I only made it until the 10th grade, I always considered myself a Scarlet Hawk.
UglyHat August 03, 2012 at 01:17 PM
I never considered myself a Scarlett Hawk. I am an MHS grad but was never a jock. I don’t really care what they call themselves. Home of the Hawks is kind of catchy and easier to say. Its probably easier to have printed on small items too.
Cheryl Shea August 04, 2012 at 01:08 PM
The word "Scarlet" has disappeared over the last few years, as well as the logo and the true Milford High School colors. The Milford High School Boosters Club is working very hard to bring back the true tradition in their colors and name. In June the Boosters Club Hosted its First Annual Milford Scarlet Hawks Charity Golf Classic in support of the athletic department. It was a huge success. I have lived in Milford for over 20 years and I grew up in Shrewsbury. Hudson High School is the Hawks - Milford High School is the Scarlet Hawks. Mary if you want any other information regarding what the Boosters Club is doing to help bring back the name "Scarlet Hawks" please feel free to contact me.

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