The Brainerd High School football team. The Brainerd Dance Club. The BHS pep band.
Add these three organizations together and add in a number of current and former BHS graduates to the mix and you have a 2008 homecoming celebration kickoff. The community pep fest started the homecoming weekend festivities Friday night at Washington Educational Services Building in Brainerd.
Todd Lyscio, Brainerd Community Education director, who emceed the pep fest, said the event was not only for the BHS students or for those who graduated from Brainerd. He said it was about celebrating the community. Lyscio said last year's homecoming celebration was so successful that there was no doubt that the community-wide celebration should continue.
Logan Rudstrom (boa), Jeremy Smith (hat) and the rest of the Brainerd High School Band got peppy Friday night at the community pep fest at the Washington Educational Services Building. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
Lyscio did his homework for this year's pep fest and shared fun facts of each decade from the 1920s to today. With each decade, Lyscio asked the audience to stand if they graduated from Brainerd in that decade. Nobody stood up from the 1920s, one person stood up in the '30s, quite a few people stood up in the '40s and by each decade more and more people stood up.
Music was played in each decade including "Minnie the Moocher" for the '30s, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" for the '60s, and "Yeah" for this decade. The Brainerd Dance Club performed to a Michael Jackson mix and the Geritol Frolics also performed a few pieces.
And, of course, you can't have a pep fest without a few words from Brainerd Warriors football coach Ron Stolski. Stolski said it's a privilege to come to football practice everyday because "we have a wonderful group of kids here." Stolski said the walls in the gymnasium were filled with the Warrior spirit and the Warrior Way and he thanked the community for its support in sports, fine arts and other extra-curricular activities.
At the end of the pep fest, Brainerd Superintendent Steve Razidlo said in an interview that the pep fast was fantastic and he hopes that the homecoming celebration will continue in the years to come. Razidlo said the celebration is a way for the schools to show their support for the community and that homecoming is not just about sports.
Lyscio said last year's pep fest was pretty tough to follow with its special guests of Rep. John Ward, DFL-Brainerd, who portrayed Annie from Antarctica and Aron Anderson, defensive line coach of the BHS varsity football team, who played Brut Hilda.
"But what makes this so fun is the mixing of the generations," said Lyscio.
The Brainerd Dance Club formed a Conga Line with the football team at the end of the pep fest. Brainerd Dispatch/Kelly Humphrey » Purchase reprints of this photo.
There was Emilee Struss, a BHS sophomore, who said it was fun to hear the old music being played and seeing the support from the community. And then there was Paul Vrudny, a 1947 Brainerd graduate, who said the community celebration is a great idea to get people of all ages together.
Beverly Somerville and Karla Nelson, both 1962 Brainerd graduates, said the pep fest brought back a lot of school memories. They cheered at the pep fest and then were off to the decade gathering event to reminisce with more classmates.
Before the pep fest, people attended a chili feed that was sponsored by United Way and EAT committee. After the pep fest, there was a BAY Concert featuring Superchic[k], Steller Kart, Article One and Starlit Platoon at Forestview Middle School.
Before the football Saturday there was the parade. Sunday at 11 a.m. there will be a Community Worship Service, coordinated by the Rev. Andy Smith, at the Forestview cafetorium.
There also will be a Shawn Stengel concert, sponsored by The Crossing Arts Alliance, at 3 p.m. Sunday at Franklin Arts Center, that will be followed by an artist reception in Gallery No. 119. Tickets will be sold at the door.
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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