Riverbank High School (RHS) gathered for the first rally of the new school year this past Frida, Aug. 20, outdoors on the football field. After missing an entire school year to remote learning due to the pandemic most students are back to in-person learning on school campuses throughout the area.
“It was really heart-warming to see that the high school students were able to have a rally to celebrate the start of school and provide the football team encouragement on their first game of the season,” stated RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella. “The student leadership team did a great job on the decorations and I felt that there was a high level of engagement among the student body. It was positive and uplifting for both students and teachers who are dealing with the impacts of the pandemic on school. I am sure students look forward to holding traditional events as the year proceeds.”
History and Leadership Teacher Raymond Perez along with the leadership class hosted the “Welcome Back” spirit week and rally for RHS students. Friday was also the first football game for the Bruins.
“Students did a wonderful job with being the first rally of the year,” added Perez. “I am proud of them. I’m looking forward to working with this class in future events. I felt participation for our welcome back spirit week went pretty well.”
The RHS band played a few songs as students arrived to the field. Although they have a smaller band this year, Band Teacher Joey Aguilar is hopeful in rebuilding the band and plans to have a winter concert this year.
During the week the leadership class encouraged students to participate in specific dress days to show their school spirit. The dress days were as follows: on Monday it was PJ Day, Tuesday was Twin Day, on Wednesday they wore Mix and Match attire, student wore sports gear on Thursday, and on Friday they wore their class colors.
“We wanted to keep our spirit days simple and use this opportunity as a ‘warm up’ for fall homecoming,” expressed Perez. “The senior class ran away with the spirit count competition, but I was happy to see that participation was improving each day for every class.”
The leadership class decorated the bleachers with signs they made for each class that made it very festive for the first rally.
RHS Principal Greg Diaz enjoys engaging with the students especially when he can get them to show their school spirit in a roar competition.
“It’s always hard to judge the decibel level when we’re outside, nevertheless it sounded like the students were engaged and spirited,” remarked Diaz. “It was nice to see the students around campus on Friday all decked out in their respective class colors.”
The students were seated in the bleachers with their respective class levels and with mic in hand Diaz went to each group to see which class was the loudest. He asks the students “Who are we?” to which the students respond “RHS.”
He said, “I always enjoy getting up in the stands with the classes and having the competition of which class can be the loudest, and it seems like the students enjoy this as well. I want our students to feel the sense of belonging.”
The cheerleaders performed a routine for students which generated excitement throughout the classes. The tug-o-war competition also stirred up a lot of cheering and excitement as the freshmen took on the sophomores and the seniors took on the juniors. The winners of those matches competed against each other which was the sophomores versus the seniors. The seniors won the competition with a little help from Mr. Diaz who jumped in towards the end.
“I thought Mr. Perez and his Leadership students did an excellent job putting this rally together given the venue change with only a few days to adjust,” said Diaz. “It’s been quite a while since we’ve had a rally with all our students present and with our band playing. With the beginning of the year usual chaos, it was refreshing to get out there with our students and just get loud.”
The next event at RHS will be fall homecoming that will take place the week of Sept. 20 through 24. The Bruins Varsity football team will take on Modesto Christian.
“I was very pleased with how the rally turned out,” relayed Perez. “The leadership class worked hard all week to make the rally a success. We are trying very hard to bring back a little normalcy for our students so they can have a positive high school experience. Events like this are always a team effort. I’m very thankful to work alongside such a great administration and fellow teachers who support what we do and showing our students what Bruin pride is all about.”