SUNNYSIDE — A Grizzly homecoming tradition which had been dormant for about 15 years until pep rally officials reintroduced the spirited parade four years ago, has again become an integral part of the weeklong festivities.
The downtown Centennial Square to high school procession along East Edison Avenue for the ceremonial girls’ powder puff football game between junior and senior classes is a pregame ritual.
Last Wednesday’s Oct. 2 homecoming parade embraced the loud and proud cheers for soon to be graduating seniors, along with up and coming underclassmen students as they celebrated the power of Grizzly Nation and welcomed back returning alumni from the Class of 1995.
“We started off with kind of a smaller one (parade) and now it’s grown up to about 30 different entries,” Assistant Vice Principal Dave Martinez stated. “It’s a neat way for our school to show their pride in the high school for the city to see all the great things our kids are doing.”
The vice principal explained teachers Pete Marquez and Alejandra Ramos rekindled the parade idea and brought their concept forward that was enthusiastically supported by administration and students.
Recognizing Sunnyside’s graduating class from 25 years prior has been a pageantry trademark of homecoming since its’ conception, he added.
“This is such a wonderful time when the community of all ages comes together and cheers on each other,” exclaimed class of ‘95 SHS homecoming queen, Miss Sunnyside and Sun Valley Elementary Teacher Tabitha Chambers. The Sunnyside kindergarten educator is also studying to become a principal.
The 5:30 p.m. parade showcased participants of all ages featuring their “Grizzly for Life” essence while sidewalk revelers shared in their excitement as they traveled from the heart of downtown to Clem Senn Field.
“We try to teach our kids that not only is homecoming fun, but it’s also about the importance of remembering where you come from. And, recognizing our alumni and celebrating their successes of life after high school in Sunnyside,” Martinez conveyed.
Friday’s homecoming assembly was another opportunity for students to hear and see how old traditions are continued and improved upon.
Led by Marquez, Pep Club members recognized every senior in football, volleyball, soccer, slow pitch, band, drama and swim in making a paper jersey with their name and number on the back were hung from the gym rafters on Thursday evening.
The resounding theme of the small-school and one town bond for a student body of almost 2,100 communicates the importance of relationships and the connection created when there’s a trusted belief in each other — anything is possible.