By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
Moapa Valley High School threw the party of the century last week to commemorate its 100th anniversary. Homecoming 2017 celebrated all things MVHS and included a parade, an assembly, a dance, a football game, and even a birthday cake for the entire community.
The first graduating class of two students graduated in 1917. In the intervening 100 years, the school has not only acquired its own campus, but the student body has grown considerably to the 524 students currently enrolled.
Those students, their families, and many other members of the community, lined the streets around the high school on Thursday for the much anticipated MVHS Homecoming Parade.
The parade was led off by the 2017 Homecoming Grand Marshal, former MVHS principal and lifetime educator Larry Moses. Moses was accompanied by his wife of 55 years, Jean. They rode in a snazzy black Mercedes convertible owned and driven by middle school orchestra teacher Walter White.
Moses was followed by the MVHS marching band under the direction of Kim Delgadillo and a selection of floats from many school organizations.
Of course, the yearly highlight of the parade is the royalty. This year’s queen and king candidates rode in the back of a selection of convertibles that displayed them in style. This year’s queen candidates were seniors Bailey Bunker, Blakey Anderson, and Morgan Aikele. King candidates were seniors Will Dalley, Maika Enosa, and Kasen Kolhoss.
The class princesses and attendants all rode on the class floats, which were constructed to portray different eras of this year’s 100-year anniversary homecoming theme: Pirates Sail Through the Century.
The freshman class float covered the 1960’s and was decorated accordingly. It held freshman class princess Madalynn Frederick and her attendants Myra Mortensen and Elizabeth Williams.
The sophomore class float remembered the 1980s: the days of the Rubik’s cube, boom boxes, and mix tapes. It held sophomore princess Jenna Jackson, with her attendants Season Crawford and Coy Overson.
The junior class float was decorated to represent a 50’s diner, complete with jukebox. It carried junior princess Mackenzie Thompson and attendants Lainey Cornwall and LeeAnn Perkins.
The senior float went all the way back to the days of prohibition and was decorated as a speakeasy, complete with secret entrance and saxophone player. The bottle of champagne across the top read, “100 Years of Prohibiting Bulldog Wine-ing,” referring to arch-rivals the Virgin Valley bulldogs. The float held senior class princess Dannika Gordon with attendants Kessa Evans and Eden Whitmore.
The parade was followed by a community-wide pep assembly in the high school gym. The assembly honored Moses and highlighted the royalty, Pirate Motion dance team, and the MVHS cheerleaders.
The assembly MC’s were seniors Gannon Hanevold and Abby Rose and the community was welcomed by student body president Kasen Kolhoss. Kolhoss quoted past school principal Grant M. Bowler saying, “This is the best school, in the best town, in the best state, in the best country.”
Senior athletes from the school’s cross-country, soccer, tennis, and volleyball teams were honored along with their parents. They were announced individually and crossed the gym floor to receive congratulatory handshakes from their coaches.
The Booster club also honored outgoing presidents Brad and Candi Evans. A commemorative video brought a touch of nostalgia for the audience. It was compiled from snapshots and videos taken over several decades from past homecoming celebrations and football games.
The highlight of the evening was the announcement and crowning of the homecoming king and queen. This year’s homecoming king was Will Dalley and the homecoming queen was Bailey Bunker. Bunker and Dalley each received a crown, cape, and sash. Both were a little overwhelmed at the honor, but pleased.
“I love this school and I’m so happy to represent it,” said Bunker.
Dalley agreed, adding, “It feels good to accept this honor because I had a lot of family and friends here to support me and I really appreciate all they do to help me.”
The assembly moved on to other awards. Bragging rights for the float entries went to the seniors for their first place float. They were followed by the sophomores in second and the juniors in third.
An award was given to the alumnus who traveled from furthest away to attend: Arizona; and the closest, which turned out to be Ash Street, only feet away from the high school.
The youngest future pirate award went to a 2-month-old baby, and the oldest graduate attending was an alumnus who graduated in 1954.
The award for the longest MVHS high school sweethearts went to a couple married now for 53 years, and the award for the most future Pirates went to a family with 13 children.
After an innovative and hilarious skit by members of the MVHS faculty, the assembled crowd joined in singing Happy Birthday to the school, followed by the school fight song. Birthday cake was then provided for every attendee courtesy of booster club member Jennifer Totten.
Attending homecoming festivities is a tradition for many Moapa Valley families. Dan and Kory Bevan attended even though their four children are all only future pirates.
“We came to support the high school because it is a fun family tradition and we love being part of Moapa Valley,” Kory said.
Her son Damon, 11 and a 5th grade Buccaneer at Bowler Elementary, had a different reason. “The parade is awesome and I love collecting all the candy they throw,” he said. “I can’t wait until I’m old enough to be in it.”
Aimee Potts was there with her family also supporting the community, the high school, family, and friends. “We come every year and wouldn’t miss it,” she said. “We love seeing Mr. White driving his convertible and watching all our friends and the people we love in the parade. It builds a great feeling of community.”