By Morgan Montalvo
Students from eight area high schools last evening received a homework assignment due during Fiesta 2019: claim a Battle Flowers Parade float and make it their own, WOAI News reports.
Eight groups of 16 students from North East, Northside, Harlandale, South San Antonio and San Antonio school districts last evening attended the unveiling of next year’s Battle of Flowers float designs at The Gazebo at Los Patios Restaurant on the north side and participated in a drawing to claim one of the floats, which they will help customize between now and the April 28 parade.
The contingents also will ride on their floats during the downtown parade, attended each year by tens of thousands of Fiesta goers.
Battle of Flowers Association President Anna-Laura Howell Block says organizers invite campuses on a rotating basis from among Bexar County’s 17 school districts to be a part of the popular procession’s Public School Section.
The “parade within a parade” is large enough so that every local public high school can participate in the parade during a repeating four-year cycle. And while the Association covers each float’s decoration and related costs the student representatives play central roles, appearing in festive attire on their floats, accompanied by their schools’ marching bands and spirit organizations.
“We give them a stipend, and they use that stipend to do costumes so that they feel like they go with the float theme,” Block says.
The 2019 Battle of Flowers Parade theme is “For the Love of Texas,” with floats that incorporate science, natural beauty, agriculture and industry, landmarks and discoveries, music, and lore and myth associated with the Lone Star State.
The Public School Section’s theme is “For the Love of Dynamic Discovery.”
Block says student brainstorming starts immediately.
“They think about the Texas history and what we’re depicting on the float; they go home with a really great graphic,” she says. “And then they talk about what kind of costumes they want to do to best represent that theme.”
She said as the parade date approaches, the students practice float routines and attend a dress rehearsal attended by local media.
“They’ll see their float for the first time, and that’s pretty powerful,” Block says. Association members also provide guidance throughout the process. “We have a person per school that kind of does the ‘hand holding’ and stays in touch with them, and makes sure everybody feels comfortable about the journey they are about to go on for the parade,” Block says.
Student parade representatives, she says, can be anyone approved by their respective campuses.
“It might be the Spanish honor society, or it may be the football players,” she says. “We leave that to them. We just want to be gracious hosts and say, ‘Hey, we’d like to highlight your school this year.’”
Block says the Battle of Flowers Association has conducted educational outreach for more than 50 years.
The Battle of Flowers Parade began in 1891 and is Fiesta’s founding event.
2019's Battle of Flowers Parade Public School Section floats and schools are:
Pursuing the Prehistoric – SOUTH SAN HIGH SCHOOL
We’ve seen proof Dinosaurs loved living in the Lone Star State as much as we do. Their tracks cross Government Canyon to West Texas and now they live large at the Witte Museum.
Shooting for the Stars – BRACKENRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL
From Houston hosting NASA to SpaceX blasting off in Brownsville, Texans look to the sky and launch the world into the final frontier.
Tasty Texas Treats – WARREN HIGH SCHOOL
Who can resist barbecue, chili, pecan pie, chicken fried steak? Texas is a foodie paradise. Explore an explosion of edible treats at the Texas State Fair.
Beauty Below – LANIER HIGH SCHOOL
Texas has a beauty much deeper than the surface. Fishing, diving, and boating are just some of the ways we explore over 360 miles of the Texas coast. Or we can simply visit the Texas State Aquarium to discover what lies below.
Wild for Wildlife – JOHNSON HIGH SCHOOL
Whether it is furry, scaly or feathery we want to showcase the biggest, smallest and rarest of our animal friends. Texas hosts the most unusual assortment of critters.
Power Moves – MACARTHUR HIGH SCHOOL
What state ranks 7th in solar power in the United States, spins 3 of the top ten worldwide wind farms, and stands at number 1 for oil production? Texas. It powers our nation and the world with oil, wind and solar inventive innovations.
Bold Bops –YOUNG WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Melodies mingle, mix and merge to catch the perfect beat. Country, blues, jazz, gospel, rock ’n’ roll, conjunto are all alive and thrive in Texas.
Reading Writing and Telling Tales – HARLANDALE HIGH SCHOOL
Nothing stirs the imagination like Texas. Pecos Bill riding a tornado down the Rio Grande, Lone Ranger wrestling cattle rustlers or even Chupacabra spotting along the South Texas Plains leaves us to wonder what more there is to be discovered.
PHOTOS: Battle of Flowers Association