Chaparral Bobcats Begin Tradition, Welcome Teachers

KISD's new Chaparral High hosted its first pep rally
By: Todd Martin
The sounds of the high school band echoed across the gym floor as cheerleaders, dance team and mascot led the audience of school staff members in a pep rally Tuesday and the Chaparral High School Bobcat tradition began.
It was the first official day back to school for Killeen ISD teachers and most other campus staff, including the very first 175 staff members of the brand-new high school.
Principal Gina Brown held it together emotionally for most of the milestone day in Bobcat history.
“I did get emotional a couple of times,” she said, after intruding her staff members and guiding academic department heads to introduce each of the teachers in their areas.
“I understand the gravity of what we’re doing here,” she said. “It’s overwhelming that I get to do this. I want to do my very best for my staff and students.”
Teachers entered the huge school on Chaparral Drive in south Killeen to start the morning, met in the cafeteria for breakfast and heard from their principal for the first time as a group.

After beginning the enormous task of unloading boxes and getting the building ready for school now less than two weeks away, they made their way to the gym for the school’s first-ever pep rally.
Staff members learned critical information like their Bobcat mascot’s name, Blue and the symbol they form with their hand – a “C” with horns – representing a Cat with Bobcat ears.
The cheerleaders returned from their first-ever summer camp a week ago with three trophies – second place in three categories. They led the rally. The mascot, still without an official uniform, wore a borrowed Eastern Hills Middle School Panther uniform.
Along with members of the Top Cats dance team, the cheerleaders formed a tunnel for school staff members to make their way into the gym as the drumline kept the loud, steady beat.
After staff members entered the gym, the Chaparral Bobcats football team and coaches entered. Coach Alan Haire introduced his coaching staff and pointed out the high privilege of beginning a new tradition.

He emphasized the importance of building strong character in students and not just athletic skills. “The wins and losses come and go, but who you are stays forever,” he said.
After a game between the different academic departments, cheerleader and dance team performances and introductions, the rally ended with the first-ever playing of the Chaparral High School Song and the Fight Song.
Both songs were composed by Band Director Bass Deese with lyrics written by two students guided by choir directors Gerald Nicholas and Eric Bourg.
“It’s really exciting,” said Phylicia Adams, a junior and member of the Bobcats cheer team and the band. “We’re the first cheer team and we’re setting a standard for future teams to come. We get to set the example how to look and act.”
She said she, her teammates and many of her friends who will attend the new school are excited to open the new campus and build traditions from scratch.

“I’ve been a part of lot of beginnings,” said Brown, “and part of that is trying to hype up the crowd. This year, I don’t have to do that. Everyone is happy to be here. Everyone is excited and wants to give their best.”
Before and after the pep rally, teachers and other staff members leaned into the continuing task to set up a new school. They received classroom keys and laptops.
Chemistry teacher Tina Quinn paused to find a pen among the stacks of boxes she moved over from her previous post at Early College High School.
In her 29th year teaching, Quinn said she likes to “move toward something” in order to continue to evolve and learn as a professional. “A new school allows you to evolve as the school grows and develops,” she said.
Even at this stage in her career, the longtime teacher said she gets excited anticipating another school year. “I’m thinking about the first day, the first week and the first month trying to get a vision of what I want the class (of students) to look like.”
As athletes and spirit groups began to start arriving at the school earlier in the summer, Brown made a point to be visible and to greet the first Bobcat students. “I want students here to know who the principal is,” she said.
As the rally ended and teachers returned to the hallways and students returned to practice, the school’s first-ever principal considered the historic day.
“Today, we’re all together for the first time and there will never be another first time.”