They came from each of the Sweetwater District’s high schoolsmore than 2,000 student athletes, cheerleaders and musiciansall to take part in the first Sweetwater Experience. The Olympic-style event was held recently at Sweetwater High’s Gail Devers Stadium. The grand spectacle got underway with a performance by Mariachi Chapultepec of Castle Park High and the foot stomping, toe tapping performances from school marching bands. Student athletes and cheer squads followed after.
School officials noted the event’s impact extended beyond the field of play.
“All of our schools coming together like this represents a very impressive display of unity,” said Sweetwater Board President Arlie Ricasa. “The Sweet-water Experience not only fostered school pride, it increased students’ sense of place in the district overall.”
The event included stirring renditions of the National Anthem and Salute to Freedom, which the marching bands performed together. Cross country, field hockey, football and volleyball teams also conducted exhibitions of their respective sports, providing a preview to their upcoming seasons.
“A lot of people stepped forward to make this event a reality,” said Gary Chapman, Hilltop Middle School principal who headed the Sweetwater Experience organizing committee. “There are few opportunities for teams and coaches to get together prior to the school year. So this event brought the coaching community together and provided an opportunity to check out their peers and competitors at other campuses. And you could really see the schools getting into it with the cheering and good-natured ribbing in the stands.”