In November the Oregon City High School (OCHS) Scarlet Brigade, a group consisting of the Cheer team, Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC), Flag Team and Band, performed at the 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Ceremony in Hawaii. The prestigious invitation was extended two years ago, and OCHS was honored to receive the opportunity.
The 147 students along with staff and volunteers flew to Hawaii to perform in the Waikiki Holiday Parade alongside 1,000 student musicians from across the country and Japan. Two years of intense preparation and fundraising efforts made the trip possible.
"I was so proud that our students were invited to participate and represent Oregon," said Tom Lovell, OCHS Principal. "It was amazing to see the dedication of our students set a goal and not stop until they reached it."
Strong and ongoing fundraising efforts helped collect the needed $300,000 to cover the cost of travel expenses. Students, staff, and parents came together to host various fundraising events including a successful spaghetti dinner and a classic car show.
Beyond gathering the necessary funds, students had to keep up their grades, attendance, and model excellent behavior. The students also had classes about Pearl Harbor and took the entire process and trip very seriously. They consistently exhibited respect and honor.
"Our band students have performed in New York for the 9/11 tribute and have been invited to Canada for the Victoria Days Parade, and they always represent our community well," said Dana Henson, OCHS Band Director. "Witnessing the way that the entire Pioneer Scarlet Brigade rehearsed and worked together for the 75th Pearl Harbor Anniversary Ceremony was a highlight of my teaching career."
Beyond participating in the ceremony, students were able to learn more about the Pearl Harbor Memorial, the USS Arizona, visit Diamond Head and learn fascinating history at the Polynesian Cultural Center.
When not rehearsing for the ceremony, learning about the memorial or studying for finals that were due when they returned, the students enjoyed their time together with some beach time and shopping
"I was so proud of our nineteen JROTC students that were able to participate and go on this trip," said Darin Larsen, First Sergeant. "The students understood and appreciated that this was indeed a once in a lifetime opportunity."
Countless pictures and videos of the Scarlet Brigade can be found on the Oregon City High School Band's website.