Loud pop music echoed throughout the Victoria East High School gym on Friday night, with students and families packing the seats.
The drumline played as the crowd cheered and student-athletes made their way to the middle of the gym floor.
Though the event was a pep rally, the excitement wasn’t for a game – it was for the beginning of the school year.
“This actually does get me hyped for school,” said Kailee Ruiz, who will be a freshman at the campus this year. “It reminds me of how the school will be for games and how spirited everyone will be this fall.”
Victoria East High School hosted its annual “Unleash the Beast” back-to-school pep rally to get students excited for the 2019-2020 school year.
School organizations, athletic teams and clubs such as the band, cheerleaders, golf and baseball teams were introduced to attendees.
The band, orchestra, cheerleaders and dance team provided entertainment for the evening.
Earlier Friday, the school had “Fish Camp,” a one-day, two-hour freshman orientation, said principal Justin Gabrysch.
Students were introduced to faculty and staff and had the opportunity to learn more about extracurricular activities and classes at the school. The incoming freshmen also were able to meet with counselors and take a tour of the building before heading to the pep rally, he said.
“It’s really like a welcome back party for everyone on campus, for students coming back and new students coming in and staff,” Gabrysch said. “We hope that freshmen and other students see their peers in these activities and want to become more involved in what we have to offer here.”
Senior Demarcus Jones said he thought it was cool for the school to have a pep rally for the school year. As a senior, Demarcus said he is looking forward to what he is hoping will be a quick year.
He plans to go to Victoria College after he graduates to attend cosmetology school to become a barber.
“It’s actually really nice ... I didn’t think so many people would show up for this,” Demarcus, 17, said. “I’m already ready to graduate and go to college.”
Parent organizations also had booths set up at the school. Angela Martinez, a vice president of the VEHS Titan Soccer Booster Club, was one of the parents at a booth advertising a fundraiser.
This year, the boosters are organizing a practical joke fundraiser that involves planting pink flamingos in unsuspecting people’s yards. Martinez said she hopes the innovative fundraiser will help bring in funds to the soccer teams and spread awareness of the sport. Her daughter, Isabella Martinez, plays on the team.
“Our teams did really well this past year, so we’re crossing our fingers that we’ll have a great season,” Martinez said.
Gabrysch said he looks forward to the school year and that one of the year’s goals will be for students to get on a life track that continues after they graduate.
“There’s always room for improvement by all, so I’m excited to see how our teachers and students will do this year,” Gabrysch said.