COMMUNITY PRIDE CARAVAN LEADERS — Front to back, SHS mascot ‘Hercules,’ senior cheer squad member Kaydi Porter, Hannah Merritt, Karicia Villfan, Itzel Ramirez and Galilea Corona return to the campus following the Friday evening outreach program on Sept. 25.

SUNNYSIDE — The Grizzly motto, “Connected even when we’re apart” has been two-way conduit between high school students and faculty with a streaming goal of not only to educate but to empower the feeling of community pride through engaging and creative outreach efforts, for everyone to see and experience its energetic vibe.

The spirited desire to share their vibrant and positive message was paraded around town as the SHS senior cheer squad and campus mascot ‘Hercules’ led a caravan of Grizzly Nation enthusiasts from two pickup truck beds on Friday evening, Sept. 25, from 6 to 7 p.m.

Associated Student Body President Olivia Puente has been a driving force behind the scenes in communicating and sharing the school’s radiating brand of united resilience among the Grizzly allegiance of supporters.

“With us, it’s a balance of keeping kids involved but at the same time having opportunities and experiences that are cool, that kids would want to participate in,” Puente stated.

Director of Student Life and Athletic Director Dave Martinez explained the powerful impact SHS spirit has on statewide visitors who tour the campus seeking to implement their academic achievements.

“The one thing that I always grab, they tell me when they come into the building, they can feel it. They can feel the positive culture… And that’s the thing they want to go back and duplicate it,” Martinez said.

The new “Friday Night Lights,” 7:30 p.m. program is a stadium light display and vehicle parade for 21-minutes, rolling through the schools parking lot, and continues to be well received by students and the public.

There were two older ladies cruising around the parking lot in a classic Mercury Cougar car during the Sept. 18 program and afterwards, they came up to offer their appreciation for simply turning on the Clem Senn Field lights and playing music over the speaker system according to Martinez.

“...At least it’s something. It’s a 21-minutes of normalcy, maybe. I don’t know if that’s the right way to say it,” Martinez candidly expressed. “And we believe it’s important. We think it’s important for our students and in this case, it was important for those two community members.”

Patrick Shelby can be contacted at 509-837-4500, ext. 110 or email

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