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High School Madness
The Southwest High School SAVAPA dancers perform at the High School Madness event on March 2 at the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta grandstands in Imperial. William Roller photo

Students Rock Their Schools at Fair ‘Madness’ Competition

While the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta’s High School Madness lacked the chaos of the Ramone’s movie “Rock and Roll High School,” it was electrified with the high-voltage energy of a championship-game pep rally.

A must-have presentation for the fair, Madness is always a boisterous and inspiring celebration of youth who will inherit the future, noted Emil Schaffner, president of the Junior Fair Board and one of the biggest boosters of Madness.

“We use this event to promote the fair through school competition,” said Emil. “Our main job is to promote the fair. All the students come here to cheer on their school. It’s all about school pride.”

The grandstand was standing room only (no one sits for a pep rally) with charged-up students waving school banners, hand-made signs and light sabers while roaring encouragement to classmates in the competition.

Gamesmanship Accelerates Spirit

Rival schools faced off in a quirky line up of competition such as the human pyramid, Farm to Ferris Wheel obstacle relay, tug of war, human Plinko and fair pong. Schools competing included Holtville, Calipatria, Calexico, Brawley, Southwest, Central and Imperial.

Linsey Dale and Cherisse Alford, Fair Board members, expedited events along with adult advisors such as Anne Irigoyen who, along with her support crew, assisted with the logistics to assure seamless transitions between competition and presentations.

“Hard work pays off,” said Irigoyen. “This is all about doing big things. It helps develop leadership skills. It’s not called High School Madness for nothing. This is an unbelievable experience.”

Ryder Merten, a Holtville High junior and Junior Fair Board member, ginned up the momentum brandishing his school’s banner as the grandstand filled to capacity, coaxing ear-splitting cheers among rivals for their individual schools.

“It’s hype but it’s a lot of fun,” said Ryder. “I have always looked forward to High School Madness as a freshman and sophomore.”

Students Battle

His fellow Jr. Fair board member, Emiliano Fucher, serving his first year on the board, was equally stoked as the screaming throng in the stands. Emiliano confided one of the best things about the Madness event is seeing the bloom of Imperial Valley youth come together and express honor in representing their individual school.

“Madness does live up to its namesake,” said Emiliano. “It’s one of the best things a high schooler can attend. I look forward to returning to the Jr. Fair Board next year. The board is one of the greatest memories I’ll preserve for the rest of my life.”

A few highlights among the many thrills the well-rehearsed students delivered with a flourish were the funky groove delivered by the Southwest High School SAVAPA dancers, the tug of war finalists of Southwest and Central in which Central triumphed in a hard fought battle, and the sometimes hysterical antics of the three-legged-race segment of the relay.

The Southwest High School drumline performs during the High School Madness event on March 2 at the Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta grandstands in Imperial. William Roller photo

Winning the top prize of $500 (funneled into next year’s Madness event) for extoling the highest ideals of spirit was Brawley High. Taking second place and $300 was Central High, while finishing third was Southwest High.

Yvonne Moreno, Viking Band of Pride director, was very upbeat with the Madness presentation.

“I enjoyed it. There was a lot of obvious spirit,” she said. “Everybody complied with the requirements. I think everybody had a great time and everyone behaved properly.”

Anthony Arevalo, Holtville High principal, praised all the students for performing at their peak and showing a lot of collective spirit. “We’re excited for our Vikings and proud of all their accomplishments,” he said. “For our seniors it’s a first indicator the high school years are ending. This is their last High School Madness they’ll participate in. And also important, we have a lot of students excelling in agriculture livestock.”

This story is featured in the Mar 5, 2020 e-Edition.

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