The Ray Fauria Memorial Gymnasium at Riverbank High School was roaring with school spirit and excitement for another school year on Aug. 16. People could hear the cheers, applause, and laughter from the student parking lot where you could almost feel the ground shaking from all the excitement this past Friday at a Welcome Back rally. The school spirit was at an all-time high.
“Being in my first year at RHS, I don’t have any personal experience of the school’s spirit history,” said Principal Greg Diaz. “I can only go on what I have been told. According to the staff and the students, what we saw last week was amazing.”
Leading up to the rally Leadership Advisor Raymond Perez and the Leadership Class organized a week filled with spirit where students dressed in specific gear for that day’s theme. The dress code last week was as follows, on Monday students were asked to dress in a mix and match style, Tuesday was Twin Day, students wore their favorite sports team on Wednesday, superhero day or Marvel versus DC day was on Thursday, and Friday students were asked to sport their class colors as seniors wore black, juniors maroon, sophomores white, and freshmen work gray.
“The students were the real reason this rally was as energetic as it was,” stated Diaz. “Our Leadership students planned and coordinated the whole thing, our cheerleading team and band were awesome, and the student body just about brought the roof down with their voices. The students were great all around. The leadership students have set a bar that now we have to at least maintain throughout the school year. They were absolutely amazing putting this event together.”
There are a lot of new faces this year at Riverbank High School like Diaz, Vice Principal Kellie Felix and Vice Principal Ed Vaca, new football coach Anthony Buich, as well as some new teachers. The following teachers, Erin Nanik, Science Teacher; Math Teacher Rafael Trenando; Brittany Thomas, Agriculture; and Kenny Veliz, Math Teacher were called front and center at the rally where they competed in an obstacle course. Each teacher that participated represented each class level at RHS. They had to go spin on a bat, crawl through some chairs, go over and under a makeshift hurdle, throw a plunger three times, find a mask and get back to the class that they were representing in full superhero costume.
“We are trying to build a sense of unity and teamwork here at RHS in everything we do,” expressed Diaz. “We can do whatever we want, but if it is not student-centered, it will probably not be too successful. Rallies allow the students to feel that sense of belonging. Plus, it allows them to scream and yell, and they always enjoy that.”
The teachers were all good sports and participated with smiles as the students cheered them on but in the end Trenando won it for the freshmen.
The RHS Cheerleaders gave an energized performance with kicks, cheers, and stunts that had the crowd on its feet. The band was posted up in the stands as well with their instruments ready to play some jams.
“I really was impressed at the level of excitement the students brought to our first rally,” added Diaz. “What stood out the most was the comments from longtime staff members who said that they have never heard the Fauria gym as loud as it was on Friday.”
Right after the rally the students were dismissed and several students stayed behind to help clean up the gym.
“The rally that our staff and students pulled off surpassed I think everyone’s expectations – and my expectations were pretty high to begin with,” noted Diaz.