pep rally kicks off GPISD school year

........ A helicopter, motorcycles, cheerleaders, drill teams, six bands and a fireworks show were just some of the highlights during the Galena Park ISD back-to-school pep rally.
........ Nearly 4,000 people turned out to celebrate the start of the 2002-2003 school year, which was held at the newly completed GPISD athletic stadium.
........ Dressed in costumes and chanting in unison, the teachers and staff members from each school paraded into the stadium. A brief rain shower caused a few delays, but the rain could not drown the excitement in the air.
........ The pep rally began as Dr. Shirley Neeley, superintendent of schools, waved to the crowd from a helicopter. As the crowd roared, Neeley landed nearby, hopped on her motorcycle and made a few laps around the stadium.
........ "We've got spirit, yes we do. We've got spirit, how 'bout you?" Neeley cheered and introduced several honored guests and community leaders.
........ Four middle school bands, the Band of Gold and the Sound of Thunder played as the Jacketeers and Scarlets performed together for the first time in history. The varsity cheerleaders from Galena Park High and the varsity and junior varsity cheerleaders from North Shore High took turns energizing the crowd in preparation for Neeley's words of inspiration.
........ Neeley praised the hard work and devoted efforts put forth by the teachers and staff in Galena Park ISD. "We feel it's important to have a big celebration to kick-off the year and let everyone know that great things are happening in our schools," Neeley said.
........ GPISD school board president Wayne Oquin said the pep rally was an opportunity to unite and show support for our employees, students and the community. "Our facilities alone are just structures, but when you fill them with teams, coaches, students, teachers and community members they become something much more important in the lives of our children."
........ Special awards were announced in a variety of categories. The best-dressed group went to Galena Park High. Cloverleaf Elementary received the most spirited award. The most original group was awarded to Cunningham Middle School. The best entrance by a principal went to Paul Drexler of North Shore Middle School.
........ The rally ended with a patriotic video, which focused on the importance of education and the freedom we enjoy as Americans. The video also emphasized the district's theme for the 2002-2003 school year, which is Galena Park ISD…Serving Our Nation Through Education." A fireworks show topped off the celebration.
........ As the students get set to return to class, Wanna Giacona, principal, Galena Park Elementary, summed up the event. "The back-to-school pep rally set the tone for the coming school year," Giacona said. "After tonight, our teachers and staff members are motivated, inspired and we're ready to have an exemplary year."

Administrators, teachers, staff, students and community members kicked off the 2002-2003 school year with a back-to-school pep rally. Awards were given in several "best of" categories. From left, Wayne Oquin, board president; Paul Drexler, principal, North Shore Middle, best entrance by a principal; Marsha Masi, principal, Galena Park High, best dressed group; John Moore, principal, Cunningham Elementary, most original group; Ofelia Garza, principal, Cloverleaf Elementary; Cloverleaf bear mascot; C.C. "Buddy" Wilson, board vice president. Kneeling, Claudia Macias, assistant principal, Cloverleaf Elementary; Lee Brown, assistant principal, Cloverleaf Elementary.