Parade is officially on for Coronado

       Thanks to a joint effort of the school, District 11, individual donors and fundraisers by students and a Westside pizza shop, Coronado High School will have its 40th annual Homecoming Parade through Old Colorado City Saturday, Oct. 16.
       “It's been nice to see everyone pitch in, to see how important it is to everyone,” said Student Body President Maria Escobar.
       “The kids worked tremendously hard,” said Principal David Engstrom.
       The amount raised so far totals “a little over $3,400,” the principal added. Expected expenses (still being finalized) are around $3,200.
       The big effort was needed because stricter city safety requirements roughly tripled Coronado's parade costs this year from those in 2009. They would be even higher if alumnus Rick Johnson, a plumbing business owner, did not volunteer his employees for parade preparation work (as he has for 25 years), including placing no- parking signs and (this year) setting out street barricades.
       The sharp cost hike - along with increased city planning and paperwork requirements - has changed the parade dynamic from a casual fall event that the incoming student body president could put together with a few phone calls and a little school backing to a year-round fundraising/ planning endeavor that has to be set in motion the previous spring by the outgoing president. That's what happened after the 2009 parade, and Escobar thanked previous president Tyler Romero for doing much of the organization before he graduated last May.
       Engstrom categorized the donations as follows (all numbers are approximate):
       Coronado/District 11 - $1,700. The principal noted for the record that none of this money was taken from education, but from “discretionary” money including Pepsi contributions.
  • Individual donations - $500.
  • Student fundraisers - $520. Most of this total came from a dodgeball tournament last spring, with the rest accumulating in a “Save the Parade” donation box that Student Council members would bring to various school events.
  • Papa Murphy's Pizza fundraiser - $580. The total resulted from the Westside pizza shop contributing (through a promotion worked out by owner Cary Vogrin and student/ employee Kevin Kennedy) $2 for every pizza sold last April 7.
  • Community fundraising - $100. This total represents returns so far from “Save the Parade” donation boxes that were put in area businesses. Not all have been picked up yet.
           Escobar and the Coronado Student Council are planning one more fundraiser, another dodgeball tournament for students Sept. 15.
           The good news, as Vice President Allie Ives pointed out, is that a lot of the money that's being raised now can go toward next year's parade.
           Engstrom, in his first year as Coronado's principal, said he's especially pleased with what's happened, because he believes the parade symbolizes what makes his school special. When he first came to CHS as an assistant principal five years ago, he said it was the Homecoming Parade, with its display of enthusiastic school spirit, that made him decide he never wanted to leave. “I was thinking, 'I can't believe this still exists,'” he said. And now, “I'll be darned if this parade dies on my watch.”
           Meanwhile, the Student Council members are not only working on parade details, but the several other aspects of the Saturday, Oct. 16 Homecoming. The parade will be followed by a catered tailgate party outside Gary Berry stadium, then the football game itself and the Homecoming Dance that night.
           Starting at 9 a.m., the parade typically consists of about 40 entries from the student clubs and Coronado feeder schools, with bands from the high school, Holmes and West providing music. The local Corvette Club provides cars for the Homecoming King and Queen candidates. Some entries offer creatively decorated floats (riders too) on donated flatbed trucks - judges decide the best float, with a prize going to the winner - while other entries are on foot, with students, staff and parents in attire matching that year's parade theme. (This year it's “In the Jungle.”) A spirited pep rally follows in Bancroft Park.
           “It should be a great parade,” Student Body President Maria said. “I'm really looking forward to it.”

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