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SELMA – A new tradition may have been cemented as Selma High got not only their students pumped up for the Rivalry Game against Kingsburg, but the entire community as well at the first ever community pep rally Oct. 30 at Pioneer Village.

“Whether our team wins or loses, we’re still there for each other,” Senior Class President Matthew Hernandez said. “It still comes out at the next game with a positive attitude to cheer on the team no matter what happens. As a school, we’re more like a family where everyone comes and supports each other. That’s what I love about my school.”

The community pep rally at Pioneer Village came about in part because Staley Stadium is not yet completed. SHS Principal Guillermo Lopez said along with Activities Director Mike Pallesi and Athletic Director Randy Esraelian, they came up with the idea to have the rally there and invite the community, many of whom are Selma High alumni.

“We thought about doing it Downtown, but since many events happen [at Pioneer Village], we decided to have it here. At the end of the day, once the stadium is completed, it’s going to be for the whole community. This will carry over and we may even continue to hold [the rallies] here for Rivalry Week,” Lopez said.

Their rally included the presentation of colors by the MCJROTC, performances by the SHS Black Bear Brigade Marching Band, cheerleaders, choir, Mexican folklorico dance class, Homecoming floats, Homecoming Royalty, dance offs and the announcing of King and Queen Ramon Martinez and Nayeli Martinez.

Even though Kingsburg High was victorious in the Nov. 1 Battle of the Fire Extinguisher football game, Selma High students say they’re still proud of not only the athletes’ efforts on the field, but of all the different organizations and classes, as they each represent the school in unique ways.

ASB treasurer Erickson Santiago said he likes how SHS Cheer squads get the students and crowds pumped up at various sporting events.

“They give us the boost we need. They give us a lot of energy. We get hyped when we see them and it gets our blood flowing.”

Santiago said he plans to return for Homecoming games in the future since even if the team loses, he’s more proud that the team gives it their all during the season.

“For sure I’ll come back. I love this town and I love this school. I want to come back every time.”

Leadership student Jasmine Plaza said she loves that she gets to help set the stage for pep rallies and school events to stir up enthusiasm in her school mates.

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“Our last rally was a circus so we transformed [the gym] and it was amazing to see how involved students were and how they really liked our enthusiasm and school spirit. Another thing it is when we go to football games and throughout the whole game, the students’ energy is up. It’s amazing to see that.”

Plaza said having SHS alumni return for such events gives the current students a chance to hear about traditions from the past.

“We love to hear stories and when people tell us when they were in high school and what they did. We tell them how now that we’re in school, this is what we do. Now we’re creating those memories and connecting with the community.”

ASB Board representative Gurpreet Kaur said she wants students to show pride when they say, “‘I go to Selma.’ I know some people think Selma’s a bad place, but pride is when you know that you go there and that it’s great. From the inside, you know it’s a good community environment.”

ASB Vice President Brandi Aguilera agreed that school pride is something you should show in a positive way.

“It’s getting involved as much as you can, being respectful to each other and supporting each other in a positive way and uplifting each other because we are all one team. Selma High is all one team,” Aguilera said.

ASB Secretary Laila Gallardo said she thinks the tradition of pumping up the school before the big game will never go away, but it may change with each passing generation.

“[School pride] is being confident and showing what we can do,” Gallardo said. “[Rivalry Week] is something that’s been carried on for generations and it will go on for the next generations to come up, but I think the older generations need to be more open-minded and realize things are always changing. It’s not always going to be traditional. Regardless of Rivalry Week, we’re always going to be doing things differently and people should be open to that and be excited for it.”

Principal Lopez said since so many generations of Selma residents have strong ties with the school, his goal is to enhance current traditions and prepare students for their futures.

“Win or lose, at the end of the day, we’re still striving for excellence. We want to make sure our students leave with a diploma, college or career ready and are going on to a university or into the workforce. So ultimately, we want to make sure they stay focused, do the best they can in the classroom and it’s our job to support them. They’ve got to leave here with that diploma and then come back and pay it forward.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2427 or lbrown@selmaenterprise.com.

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