Homecoming Parade

Willard takes the Mayor’s Award

Vincent Coyan, Administrator

Yarr, this be Gwen Hoppe talking about the homecoming parade float for Willard!

Who was involved in creating the float?

“Mainly, my third period independent art class, but at some point we involved other people like my first and second period. When we weren’t getting [enough] crows coming from third period, I had them start making crows that would go in the float. I also had some after school people with Flagship, so it was a joint effort between Melissa from Flagship and my art classes. Different people helped in different ways, but it was mainly my third period art class.”

Who went to the parade from Willard?

“Apollo and Janelle carried the banner. Corvus Mixsooke was dressed up as a crow, and he walked the streets delivering candy, and Dylan Peterson was inside the crow mascot outfit on the float, waving his arms around, and being a Willard Crow. Shayla was mostly behind the float, and she had on roller skates and she was wearing a Willard Crow kite costume on her back. She roller skated around and delivered candy as well. Miriya was roller skating dressed as a crow delivering candy. I think there were six students, and Melissa of course, and me — I drove the truck.”


How long have you been entering floats in the homecoming parade?

“In 2014, we participated the first time, and we got first place for high school level. We did it again in 2015 and got second place, so this is our third homecoming float.”

How Would You Describe the float Willard entered?

“I’ll start with the theme that we adapted from the University of Montana’s theme. There’s was 100 years of homecoming Montana forever. Our idea was going from old to new, and continuing education, [which inspired our motto], “From old to new, flying into the light flowing into the future.”  We had some metaphors [on our float]. On top of the truck, we had a grizzly bear that we had used in the past. It was spray painted gold and had jewels put on it — that represented the University of Montana. Then on the trailer, we had arches where crows would hang. You know the different crows that students made were hanging and coming from different directions, and also the big mascot crow was on there. We also had a couple of fish to represent a river. On the side, we had waves cut out of wood and then painted to look like this is a river flowing into the future and some shiny material, oh yeah!”

What was your role in the float/parade?

“I drove the truck in the parade, and then put the float together downtown. We couldn’t drive with all the crows on top of it. I drove the truck and handed out dog treats.”

What was the date and time of this year’s float? Where did it start?

“It was October 5th. The parade started at 10:00, but we didn’t get rolling until about 10:35 or more, then it went for about an hour. We started by the red X’s downtown by Higgins street. As we walked down Higgins Street, turned on University Avenue and dispersed from there. Melissa picked up the kids at the end and took them home, so I was really proud of the kids who showed up on a Saturday morning to represent their school!”

How long did it take to create this float, and where did you get the finances for it?

“This was a joint effort between the Flagship and the Willard art classes. Melissa Madsen, Willard’s Flagship Coordinator, put in the application, because it costs 50 dollars to be in the parade. She provided that and bought a few materials like spray paint. We also went to Home Resource and got some construction materials they donated. And, the MUD program donated a truck for the weekend for us. A neighbor across the street donated a trailer to us, and out of my art budget, I got some materials like paint and shiny things.”

Why is creating a float important to you and to Willard?

“I think it’s an opportunity for Willard to show our school spirit, and I think it’s good for students to work together to create one big display. It’s nice to see how they translate the theme — how they work it out. It’s a good group project and good to see it through for creative expression. Also, it’s good PR, because there aren’t too many times where we get to be out there, like the other big schools have bands or that sort of thing. It’s a way to show the public who we are and have students walk and see people cheer us on. I got to see old students and their babies, so I just think its a good community outreach.”

What award did you win if any?

“ We [earned] the Mayor’s Award and I’m very pleased. The first [award] is Best of Parade, and that was the Iron Workers. Under that is the Mayor’s Award and maybe we’ll get a plaque someday, in the past we’ve gotten plaques. Flagship will have it, so you’ll have to look under Flagship, because the flagship people paid for the entry fee.”

How did you think it went this year?

“I think it was well-received, and it went well. I didn’t run over anybody on the way, and nobody fell off the trailer. One of the problems was that we didn’t get the trailer or truck until the night before, so it was hard to really get it to its best. I would have liked to have seen a little bit more design on the float, but we didn’t have many students on that Friday. We had a couple working after school to put that together for next time. Because I learn every time… we need to have almost a week ahead of time to really do a good job, because we were throwing it together the morning of, it was fun, it was a HOOT!”

Any other thoughts you would like to share the for the article in the WW?

“I’m looking forward to next year’s float. We’re going to start earlier with a committed group, and sometimes students don’t know, if they haven’t been in the parade before, how much fun it is. People can watch the float and the parade on MCAT.”

Okay, thanks Gwen. 🙂

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