Fall 2015 Homecoming Week in Riverbank was filled with events, spirit, dress up days, golf cart decoration, a parade and football for the students at Riverbank High School and the community. New to RHS this year is Gina Tonarelli, Activities Director and counselor, who directed the leadership class in putting on a fun filled week.
The culmination of the week was the selection of this year’s Homecoming royalty, with Caleb Raper crowned as the Homecoming King and Kenia Garcia named as the Homecoming Queen.
The series of events actually started back on Sept. 24 with a fashion show during lunch to give all students an example of what kind of attire to wear during the spirit dress days for homecoming week along with the announcement of the king and queen candidates.
The theme for Fall Homecoming 2015 was “Bruins through the Ages” which inspired the dress days like Monday was the 1940s era where students were asked to sport army print or red, white, and blue. Tuesday students celebrated the 1950s with poodle skirts, hot pink, black and leather jackets and on Wednesday they wore black and white colors or black tie formalwear to show their spirit for the 1960s.
Walking around campus it was easy to see that the 1970s inspired the attire with hippy clothes, rainbow colors, and tie dye on Thursday. The final day of homecoming week on Friday was Bruin Spirit Day where students wore the school colors of maroon and silver, showing their school pride.
Throughout the week students participated in a variety of lunch time activities like mini golf, volleyball bump contest, soccer juggling, soccer obstacle course, tug-of-war, and tricycle races while listening to music of the different theme day eras.
Students were represented in each class during the competitions and the winners received spirit points for their class.
At the end of the week the spirit points were tallied and the senior class was the victorious class, showing the most spirit during homecoming week.
There are many homecoming traditions that RHS continues like the homecoming parade, however new to the parade were decorated golf carts which replaced the usual floats due to the new all-weather track. The golf carts are acceptable on the track; the commercial vehicles typically used to pull decorated floats are not, so the golf carts served as class floats for this year.
The parade began about 3 p.m. on Friday with Riverbank Police Services deputies leading the parade, Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District fire engine next, then the Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps color guard, the RHS band, color guard, cheerleaders, followed by the king and queen candidates.
The seniors were in a van dressed in hippy style clothing to represent the ‘70s, juniors decorated their cart with the “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in mind, sophomores had their golf cart looking like a Thunderbird, while the class of 2019, the freshmen, stole the show transforming their golf cart into a military tank.
Al Scoles was selected as the 2015 Grand Marshal, voted unanimously by the students and rode shotgun in the van with the hippy seniors.
“The student body really appreciates all he does for the kids so they thought he would be the perfect fit,” explained Tonarelli.
The couple that received a very loud round of applause during the parade as they rolled down Santa Fe Street were king candidate Caleb Raper, who is wheelchair bound and was not able to ride in a car, along with Mikala Stewart who rolled right beside him on a scooter. Raper rolled his motorized chair down the street and Stewart did not want him to go alone so she accompanied him in the parade, foregoing her spot in the convertible to be alongside Raper.
The rest of the candidates followed closely behind in sporty convertibles and then the highly anticipated decorated golf carts with students in each grade walking behind.
The Bruins hosted Galt High School for their Homecoming football game where they were defeated 48-12. Earlier in the week, the girls battled it out on the gridiron.
Though there was a touch of rain on Wednesday night, it didn’t deter the Powder Puff girls as the Senior/Freshman team fought the Junior/Sophomore team to a 7-7 tie. The game even went to overtime, but ended with the draw.
During halftime of the varsity football game on Friday night, Raper and Garcia received their royal designation. This year was the first time that the King and Queen were crowned at the same time, during the Friday contest. Raper was accompanied on Friday evening by his grandmother, Lori Dopp, and Garcia was accompanied by her mother, Patricia Garcia. All candidates, along with their escorts, were recognized for their participation in events during the week.
The newly crowned Homecoming King listed his favorite quote as: “Rise to the challenge that life presents you. You can’t develop genuine character and ability by sidestepping adversity and struggles.”
Added new Queen Garcia of her advice to underclassmen: “Learn from your mistakes, work hard, and high school is a great adventure.”
News Correspondent Ric McGinnis contributed to this story.