First there was a group cheering in cadence that broke the daily din along Shore Boulevard in Gulfport. Then, the brass instruments and drums punctuated the air. Could it be? Yes! It was a parade!
But not just any parade.
On Wednesday, October 25, during a crisply cool late afternoon, the students, faculty and staff of Boca Ciega High School held their annual homecoming parade throughout the downtown streets of the city. A fire truck, police vehicles, the Gulfport Trolley and folks with their animals all combined to create a living Norman Rockwell style small-town American scene.
They marshaled near the Rec Center, marched to the Casino then turned onto Beach Boulevard and headed to the library. There, they turned around and retraced their steps creating smiles all along the way. Hearing the activity, people gathered at curbside to watch.
The parade “continues to show the support that the community has for the school,” said Boca Ciega High Principal Michael Vigue. “We purposely do activities downtown, which even includes the prom at the Casino in the spring, as a reminder to students that we are a Gulfport school. We are a community school. That’s important to us. It’s nice to go through the streets together.”
For eight years he has been a part of the tradition of the parade.
“It’s nice for me to cheer on each of the groups” that participate, he said.
The trolley carried members of the homecoming court and robotics team while cheerleaders and members of the band, the multicultural club, the JROTC military group and others walked the route.
“It’s one of those nice little small-town things that I hope they keep doing,” said Gulfport’s Mayor Sam Henderson. “It’s just a good reminder to the people who live here that we’ve got a good school with a magnet program and a strong athletics presence right here in Gulfport. So, it’s a good reminder to people to support our hometown school.”
On Friday, October 27, the Bogie Pirates hosted the Dixie Hollins Rebels on their home field for their homecoming football game. In front of packed stands, the Pirates won 48 to 28.