Personal Column: Inaugural Parade leaves lasting memory for High Hat

Junior Taryn Marceleno warms up for the long journey down Congress Avenue for the Inaugural Parade. (Cynthia Rangel Photo)

A white light shined in my eyes nearlying blinding me. I sat in a stiff blue directors chair and watched a cameraman set up his equipment. I looked toward the extending wall of mirrors combing my fingers in my hair frantically. I pinched my cheeks. Should I put make up on?  I become frustrated with my appearance. “Run this microphone up your shirt and clip it on your collar,” ordered the cameraman. I  obeyed and began to twitle my fingers.  I noticing my palms were beginning to sweat. Nerves took over my body.

As a writer I interview students and teachers. Once my position was behind the camera I felt the heavy pressure against my chest. “Miss Marceleno tell me what you are preparing for today. How do you feel? Tell us what you know about the upcoming Governor.”

It seems as if I was being interrogated. As I was asked a series of questions on my opinion about being in the Governor’s inaugural parade, I realized the importance of the event. The high hats were going to be part of history. Not may people are given the opportunity to march in the inaugural parade or yet represent their city.

When High Hat director Mrs. Kristi Beaty told the team that our next governor is an alumni from Duncanville and he personally asked the High Hats to represent Duncanville  the feelings were surreal for everyone. For myself I didn’t think much of the event except it was going to be a trip to Austin and an opportunity to bond with my sisters. As the parade date came closer and closer it hit me like a slap to the face that it is an honor.

When my eyes popped open on Jan. 20, with only 3 hours of sleep due to excitement I was already late to school. I thought that will cost me a  demerit. These are disciplinary measures for things such as being late. When entering the dance room I watched girls shuffle to the bus. Mrs. Beaty was frantic as usual. Once everyone was on the bus, order came back. We were all seated and ready for a three hour nap on the bus ride.

When I woke up most of the girls were getting make-up on. “Teal eyes ladies,” Miss Evans yelled over the multiple conversations that awoke me in the first place. Once we were in the city it was time to put on the satins. The satin is literally the hardest outfit to put on and when you have to change on a bus with 35 other girls it’s even harder. It takes 15 minutes to put on the satin. Mind you we had only five minutes to be ready. “HURRY HURRY HURRY!” Miss Evans counted down the minutes. Once all the girls were ready we were off the bus on the way to the parade.

The hot sun beat down. We arrived at 11.30 and would have to wait will 2pm when the parade started. Each girl sat down, took off their jacket and enjoyed the free water the military was passing out. My sister is part of the UT Longhorn band  and I was excited she was there somewhere in the crowd. Once I saw the burnt orange uniforms strolling down Congress Avenue, the search was on for the flutes and most especially my sister. After searching through many college band students my sister came running to me and we exchanged quick hugs and good lucks before taking our respective places on the hot pavement.

Once the clock hit 1:45 all the girls hurried to their line up formation. We had 15 minutes to go over the routine with the drumline. “5,6,7,8”  we chanted as everyone went over the routine in place. “5 minutes!”  was shouted throughout the streets. All the girls were fluffing skirts out and licking their teeth hoping red lipstick didn’t smear. The drumline began the new cadence.

“5,6,7,8, left, right, left, right”  we said as we began to walk. There thousands of people lining Congress Avenue as we marched toward the capital. Chants and cheers of  “GO DUNCANVILLE” echoed in the streets. Butterflies roared  in my stomach. We danced our routine while waving at everyone in the crowd, then danced and waved. And danced and waved more. Each step took us closer and closer to the capital. It was a spectacular sight. All of a sudden we were standing in front of the capital at the end of the parade. Our whole 10 minutes of fame was over. Everyone stood drenched in sweat. Once in shade everyone watched the rest of the parade.

As we all walk to the bus High Hats gathered in groups telling stories about what they experienced. Mrs Beaty and Miss Evan announce how proud and amazed they are. Our satins were drenched and now it was time to get back on the bus and get comfortable again.

After this phenomenal experience, I along with the High Hats and Drumline are grateful for the experience. I still listen to my dad tell his friends and all the family. I am constantly told “You should be honored and grateful for the experience.” I have to say I truly am. This is a high school memory that I will never forget.



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