Silt Titans up at Heyday |

Silt Titans up at Heyday

Post Independent Photo/Kara K. PearsonVictoria Tilley, 3, and Cheyenne Roark-Tilley, 9, pose for Ken Carpenter as he draws caricatures of the pair at Saturdays Silt Heyday.

Decked out in her new favorite colors, cheerleader Nadine Chavez walked around Silt Heyday with a new sense of community pride – Titan pride.”Hey, Hey, Hey Titans!” was the theme of this year’s Silt Heyday, making incoming Coal Ridge High School students like Chavez honorary guests. Excited to be in the first graduating class at Coal Ridge, Chavez said having the school in town just might add a little more to the spirit of everyone living there.”It’ll be New Castle and Silt’s high school,” Chavez said. “I think everybody’s got more pride now,” she said.

With the first day of classes at Coal Ridge set to start on Aug. 16, the Silt Chamber thought the perfect way of welcoming Coal Ridge students, faculty and staff would be to dedicate the 36th annual Silt Heyday to them.Although parade coordinator Susie Wright has only lived in the valley for about a year, she said she knew exactly what things were important to her neighbors.”This entire valley takes education very seriously and we wanted to turn that into something special,” Wright said. “It’s really fun to be welcoming a brand new high school, and we wanted to honor Coal Ridge,” she said.Wearing their cobalt blue, black and silver Titan gear, Coal Ridge students stormed Veterans Park, totally oblivious to the younger generations of kids hoping to one day walk in their shoes as Titans.

After watching two Coal Ridge cheerleaders work the crowd at the gazebo, 10-year-old Junior Burning Mountain Princess Ashley Roper broke out a few moves of her own. A dancer since she was five, Roper said she definitely wants to be a cheerleader when she gets to high school. That’s just fine with Roper’s mom, who is as excited as her daughter at becoming part of the Titan family.”I’m absolutely thrilled that the new high school is here,” Roper’s mother Kimberly Roper-Palmgren said. “I believe every kid that goes to the school will be at an advantage, and I hope the community comes together to support the school because that’s what it needs.”Each year, the Silt Heyday brings families and friends together, but members of the Silt Chamber of Commerce said the opening of Coal Ridge High School was also helping to move neighbors off their front porches and into town.”If you think of what we’re presenting here, yeah, it’s a barbecue, and a parade, but it’s really bringing the community together,” chamber member Sue Schmidt said.

“So often we get involved in our daily lives and when we offer opportunities like this we can talk to our families and our neighbors,” Schmidt said. “It creates a connection we often lose in our daily lives.”Showing her Titan spirit, chamber member Ruth Kary dressed as a Greek goddess for the parade, and agreed that the best way to bring the community together was to honor Coal Ridge at this year’s Silt Heyday.”It’s a good reason for people to get together,” Kary said. “It’s new and it really brings in fresh ideas,” she said. “Now all our kids are going to school together, too.”As one of the largest groups of grand marshals for the Silt Heyday parade, Coal Ridge students and administration brought more to town than just school spirit. Whether they knew it or not, as they rolled down Main Street Saturday morning, they bridged a gap between the families and friends they live among in the valley.”We’ve always considered ourselves in Silt to be down valley,” Schmidt said. “The high school’s kind of a joining of the communities between New Castle and Silt. It’s also a symbol of growth and we’re trying to embrace that change because it will just make the community come closer together,” she said.

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