|Posted by Elwin Green on October 16, 2015 at 8:50 PM|
This week has been Spirit Week at Westinghouse High School, leading up to the Bulldogs' homecoming game this evening, in progress as I type.
I visited WHS for their pep rally this afternoon, which was held in the gym. I couldn't stay for the entire thing because of another appointment.
I wish I could have; it would be good to get to know some people at Westinghouse better, or to get to know more people there, period - the school has gone through so much in recent years that there are certainly stories there right now worth telling.
For now, I will only observe that the pep rally was what one might expect: loud music, cheerleaders strutting and performing acrobatics, football players coming onto the gym floor one by one to cheers and applause.
(I meant to take photos and shoot video, but my phone has stopped working.)
The only thing that I noticed that I would not expect at any other high school pep rally anywhere, was someone wearing a jersey with "R.W.G. Deion" emblazoned on the back.
That is part of these young people's reality. But they are still kids who deserve to have music and cheerleaders, and their football players deserve to clown around a bit on the gym floor.
It was good to see kids being kids, and adults providing space and encouragement for them in that.
That is how it should be.
A full day of events tomorrow will make this Homecoming Weekend even more special. The Westinghouse High School Alumni are sponsoring a "Bulldog Mania" tailgate party in the school's parking lot from 10 am - 4 pm, and an alumni flag football game at noon.
Admission for the football game is $3 for adults and $1 for children. The game will also feature a halftime performance by the GWHS High Stepping Alumni Marching Band.
At 2 pm, Hand in Hand Inc., together with the Afro-American Music Institute, presents a "Billy Strayhorn Centennial Concert," in advance of the 100th anniversary of the jazz composer's birthday (November 29). Although born in Dayton, Ohio, Strayhorn graduated from Westinghouse before going on to become Duke Ellington's go-to composer, penning such classics as "Take the 'A' Train," and "Lush Life."
Tomorrow's concert will feature another storied Westinghouse alum, Adam Wade (class of '52). As a singer, Wade had a string of hits in the early 1960s, beginning with "Ruby." He followed that success with a foray into television, becoming the first African-American to host a television game show in 1975, "Musical Chairs." Wade will perform duets with local jazz singer Floreece Davis .
The concert will also show off $20,000 of renovations to the school's auditorium, said Hand In Hand CEO and president Leslie Parr. She was at the school this afternoon while the rally was in progress, waiting for delivery of a Steinway piano.
"Seventeen hundred dollars to rent it for one day. Isn't that something?"
General admission tickets for the concert are $35; balcony, $25; VIP, $100; and available at Dorsey's Records.
At 6 pm, the day winds up with a "Black Arts Matter Black Tie Affair," at the 3 Lakes Golf Course, 6700 Saltsburg Road in Penn Hills. Tickets at Dorsey's Records - the $60 donation includes dinner.
All proceeds from the above events will benefit the Westinghouse Alumni Scholarship Fund.
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