Monday, 23 October 2017 08:48

Homecoming Parade Draws Large Crowd Friday; School Spirit Awards Received

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Cody Diggs (left) and Caden Nolan enjoy the homecoming parade Friday. Cody Diggs (left) and Caden Nolan enjoy the homecoming parade Friday. Photo courtesy of C.K. Craven.

ROCKINGHAM – No one was seen tapping the heels of her ruby red slippers while repeating, “There’s no place like home,” and yet they all were there – “home” that is.

Friday afternoon was highlighted by the annual Homecoming Parade through downtown Rockingham, as a sizable crowd lined the streets to check out the sights and sounds that preceded Richmond Senior High School’s Raiders football team’s 49-27 beat down of Lumberton High School later that night.

RSHS, according to Principal Jim Butler, doesn’t recognize the traditional king and queen. Instead, the school picks a Mr. and Miss School Spirit. In a homecoming court stacked with athletes, band members and many other notable students, it was Caleb Dickens and Kartiar Walker who took home the honors. David Watkins, who works as a custodian, was awarded the faculty spirit award after teacher Cherie Washington said Watkins was more deserving.

Also in attendance earlier in the day at RSHS was grand marshal, and former Raider football star Dannell Ellerbe. Ellerbe has played nine seasons in the NFL, most recently with the New Orleans Saints.

Perfect weather graced the route of the numerous floats, trucks, trailers, and marchers as the parade made its way past the throng of cheering observers.

Some of those who lined the streets were seemingly too young to have ever even left Richmond County to begin with, much less be “coming home,” so to speak, but they were certainly reveling in the festivities, regardless.

When asked their respective opinions as to what constituted the “best part” of the parade,  six-year-old Alexis Scott and five-year-old Callie Quick focused on the “music and dancing” of some of the marchers.

Similarly, a pair of 10 year-olds, Caden Nolan and Cody Diggs, were captivated by the fire trucks and police cars, especially when the sirens were sounded at intermittent intervals.

But the adults seemed to be enjoying the moment as much as were the kids.  Matthew Quick commented that the homecoming weekend in general, and the parade in particular, offered an opportunity for, “county residents to come together, reminisce about old times, and just appreciate what we have here.”

And there was much to appreciate with the parade itself.  RSHS’ JROTC cadets led the way with a well-orchestrated synchronicity of cadence and rhythm while the beautiful and stunningly-attired homecoming court members such as RSHS senior Anna Gissendaner cruised behind.

“It’s just so exciting to be in the parade,” said Gissendaner. “And look at how many people came out; it’s just great to be out here!”

Gissendaner wanted to credit her homecoming court sponsor, Brandon Harris, and also thank everyone who made the Homecoming Parade of 2017 such a success. 

Indeed, it seemed that everyone along the parade route was feeling the same sort of appreciation for “home” at this commencement of our Homecoming Weekend festivities.

A full photo gallery of Friday's parade can be viewed Monday afternoon on the RO's Facebook page.