High School Madness: Irreverent, sometimes messy competition is Southwest's cup of tea

March 06, 2001|By LAURA MACKENZIE, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — It was alive, charged with screaming high schoolers, a crowd that moved to the music, at least one raucous band member and enthusiastic cheerleaders.

It was loud, the cheers and music drowning out the noise of the carnival rides nearby.

High School Madness on Monday once again arrived at the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta. In the irreverent and sometimes messy competition, Valley high school students fought to show what school had the most school spirit. This year El Centro's Southwest High School took home the first-place $500 prize. Brawley High followed close behind in second place, winning $300, and Calipatria High rounded out the top finishers with third place and $100.

With games like a scavenger hunt, karaoke contest and centipede crawl, teams from the seven high schools participating pumped up the crowd with their antics.

"It's a rush," said karaoke contestant Andres Carbajal of Southwest High.


"You just have to go all out," enthused Southwest teammate Katy Calvin.

"I like getting spirited and cheering for my school," said Brawley Union High School sophomore Jenna Rebik. She added she plans to participate in the madness next year.

As hosts of the event, the Junior Fair Board fought to be heard over the energized students. Parents joined in the fun.

"I think it's great to have an event where we know the kids are safe," said Martha Garcia, whose daughter Elizabeth is a junior varsity cheerleader at Central Union High School in El Centro.

Parents weren't the only spectators; there were many administrators and teachers present as well. Mike Kalusa, a social studies teacher at Imperial High School, has attended and participated in High School Madness for the last three years.

"It's almost a tradition," he said of being the faculty member participant for the game "Breakout," in which students Casey Bryant and Justin Wingate plastered his face with whipped cream and cheese balls. "It's delicious, absolutely delicious," Kalusa commented, wiping the whipped cream off his face.

"Dance Fever" competitors Frank Partida and Reyna Vallarta of Imperial High felt working with each other is what helped their team.

Philip Yescas and Shawna Squires, Brawley High seniors, agreed that the dance competition was the best event of the night.

"The Limbo" ended the organized games and as the madness neared the end, the noise level increased as schools fought for the few remaining spirit points. Excitement mounted and a suspenseful anticipation filled the air as the winners were announced.

It was a Valleywide pep rally, and only the most intense claimed the prize.

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