Coronado parade tab less than feared
$1,200 in donations so far also help out, but $1,800 still needed as students plan fundraisers

      

Decked out in school colors in front of their cougar mascot, several members of Coronado High's student government show their spirit and support for a fundraising drive for the annual Homecoming Parade. Highest up are Erik Martin (left) and Tyler Romero. Seated are Allie Ives (left) and Kaeli Vandersluis. In front are Rosie Bradley and Alexana Rotunda (who is holding a "Save the Parade" donation box).
Westside Pioneer photo
It may not be time yet to strike up the band, but Coronado High School appears to be in step for its 40th annual Homecoming Parade through Old Colorado City next fall.
       A quiet intra-school request for donations since last fall's parade has raised $1,200 through February. Also in that time, student officials have met with City Police and key volunteer supporters, working out a cost target of just under $3,000 for the next parade - a welcome reduction from the $5,000-plus that had appeared likely just a few months ago.
       Now the Coronado Student Council has embarked on a community fund drive to raise the balance of about $1,800. Hand-decorated “Save the Parade” donation boxes have begun appearing in Westside businesses, and the students are brainstorming different fundraising ideas, including Internet appeals using Facebook and MySpace and a June 5 concert and barbecue in Bancroft Park.
       “It's good that we have a target to look forward to, and a lot of school and community people are getting involved,” said senior Tyler Romero, this year's student president. “It's our parade. We have an obligation to make it happen.”
       Romero has the unique distinction of being the first Coronado president to plan two Homecoming Parades, including the upcoming one, which will occur after he graduates.
       The situation came about because of stricter city safety requirements for public events such as Coronado's, in which Colorado Avenue is closed off between 28th Street and Bancroft Park (where a pep rally is held) for a roughly half-hour-long procession of handmade floats and bands representing groups from Coronado and its feeder schools. The parade has traditionally been a largely informal affair with minimal costs that were further defrayed by volunteers. For the past 25 years, CHS alumni Rick Johnson has covered the largest expense by having his Johnson Heating & Plumbing employees set out (and later pick up) donated barricades to block off the side streets. But the new rules insist on using formally trained barricade workers; plus, the company that had been donating the barricades (Midwest Barricade) could no longer afford to do it for free.
       The happy surprise for next fall is that the city will allow Johnson's employees to reprise their barricade work, on the condition that Midwest verifies they've done it correctly. That holds the barricade cost down to $1,342.85 (far less than expected). The police cost will stay about the same, at $1,518, leading to an exact fundraising target of $2,860.85.
       “It's great they're doing that to reduce some of the costs,” commented City Police Sgt. Lonnie Spanswick, who oversees special events in Colorado Springs. “Basically, how the barricades are placed isn't my concern, as long as they follow the traffic plan.”
       Johnson said he's glad he can continue to help his alma mater. In addition to barricades, his crews put out no-parking signs and bag parking meters. “Every year we think it's the last time,” he chuckled. “I came back and told my guys, 'We're going to do it again,' and that's fine.”
       Johnson was gratified, after the last parade, that a contingent of students personally delivered a thank-you card. “That was really nice,” Johnson said. “I've hung it up in my conference room.”
       Tom Sandoval, one of Coronado's three assistant principals, helped work out the more affordable barricade strategy. “It was a real pleasant surprise for us,” he said. “That had been our biggest concern, being able to fund the parade.”
       “It's been a tradition for so long,” said Kaeli Vandersluis, a junior Student Council member. She is taking a lead role, along with some other underclassmen, in the parade planning this year and then they will carry it on next fall. “It separates us from the other District 11 schools. The community can come together for one day, for one parade. I really want to keep it going.”
       Also getting involved is the Coronado PTA, after the students asked for their help. “One thing we are planning is an alumni night in the spring in conjunction with a music performance,” PTA President Nora Brown said. Those attending would get to meet the new principal (to be announced in April) and “information about the parade will be available,” she said.
       Romero said he is OK with taking on a bigger parade-planning load than did his predecessors. The reality, he's decided, is that Coronado students now “will have to make the parade a year-round thing.”
       The important thing is to keep it going. “We're doing this because we love our school,” he said. “If the parade didn't last, I would be heartbroken.”
       To obtain a “Save the Parade” donation box, contact Student Council through the main school number: 328-3600.

The freshmen float gets raucous during last September's 39th annual Coronado Homecoming Parade.
Westside Pioneer photo

Westside Pioneer article