Oak Creek For the first time in more than a decade, floats took part in the Soroco High School homecoming parade that proceeded through downtown Oak Creek on Saturday.
"The student leadership class and student council decided to bring back the parade floats. They had all of the ideas, and each class got to decorate their float," Soroco Principal James Chamberlin said.
Students, parents and teachers agreed that this year's homecoming experience was the best the school and community have seen in years.
Thanks to a new leadership class at the school, Chamberlin said, students took it upon themselves to make the entire week as special as possible.
"I am very proud of the work the students have done. Even though we are at the end of the week, I was really impressed with the school spirit I saw," he said.
Students painted downtown busi--ness windows with maroon and white paint, played a powder puff football game, hosted a fundraising chili cook-off and took part in a bonfire, dress-up days and the parade. The homecoming football game and dance culminated the weeklong festivities.
Longtime Oak Creek resident Mary Ruth Norris has watched many parades from the stoop of her porch on Main Street, but the high school homecoming parades are some of her favorites, especially because her granddaughter, Susan Rossi, helps plan them.
"I wouldn't miss this parade for anything. It was really great to see everyone out this year," she said.
Senior volleyball players and homecoming royalty nominees Kyla Schmidt and Vanessa Eaton said this was the best homecoming week they have experienced during their years at Soroco.
"The seniors have really stepped up and done a lot to make this week special," Schmidt said. "We had a blast at our powder puff game because the fields were wet from the snow the night before, and it was great to see the entire town at our chili cook-off."
Students from every grade played in Wednesday's powder puff game. This year, the white team beat the maroon team, 14-0.
Eaton said homecoming week is a time for students to support athletics and get the entire school involved in activities.
"It's all about school spirit this year," she said. "The games (Saturday) are what the whole week has been leading up to. Everyone is so excited to watch some good football."
Schmidt said she was impr--essed with the amount of support she saw from the students and the community and how classy it was for the school to promote its team rather than make fun of its opponent.
"It's awesome that we aren't putting anyone else down. This year, we just wanted to do something different," she said.
Head boy Nick Rangel and head girl Cheyenne Carrell helped organize the homecoming week and said they thought Saturday's parade was a good way for the community to see the school. They were glad so many fans lined the streets to cheer on the students and their floats.
"We really like to recognize our athletes this week, but everyone has an opportunity to be involved and participate," Carrell said.
Teacher and student mentor Sam McLoud said he was impressed with the quality of the week, especially because the students controlled almost everything that happened.
"I think (the students) really pulled everything together. It's for them. It's for their school," he said.
Chamberlin said one of the highlights of the week was when the students beat teachers and staff during a power volleyball game Friday.
"All week, we were talking smack to them, and they really handed it to us," he said. "We'll have to go back and refine our volleyball skills."
The week's events were well-attended, Chamberlin said. About 450 people went to the chili cook-off, which featured 32 chili variations.
"Our school serves all of South Routt and communities as far away as Bond and McCoy. This week was really unifying for us because it brought all of those individual communities together," he said.
In the future, Chamberlin hopes to bring more floats to the parade, including ones from the elementary and middle schools.
"It was nice to see people on the sidewalks cheering on the kids and supporting the parade," he said.
-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org