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Shaler Area festivities kick off with parade featuring Class of '63 graduates

| Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Louis Raggiunti | Shaler Journal
Laura Cook, a senior on the Shaler Area dance team, shows her school spirit.
Louis Raggiunti | Shaler Journal
The Shaler student body is back in school and ready to rock and roll.
Louis Raggiunti | Shaler Journal
The Shaler Area cheerleaders get the crowd pumped up at last week's football game.
Louis Raggiunti | Shaler Journal
The Shaler Area band continued to practice during the teachers strike and are in fine form.

A sea of red, white and blue will march down Mt. Royal Boulevard this weekend in the annual Shaler Area Homecoming Parade, which kicks off the weekend of homecoming events.

The homecoming parade, an annual district tradition, starts at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, and will feature more than 50 school, community and alumni groups; six fire-department trucks; the Shaler Area Emergency Medical Services; and the police department.

“I think homecoming in this area, in this district, is just an incredible event,” Superintendent Wes Shipley said. “It's a great day to bring us all together.”

This year's homecoming theme — “Game On!” — will be reflected in the floats, which will represent classic board games and video games.

Celebrating the true meaning of a homecoming, almost 50 graduates from the Class of 1963 also will march in the parade in honor of their 50th high school reunion.

Bob Kaminski, a 1963 Shaler graduate, now of New Sewickley Township, said a lot has changed from his high school days. The high school was located where the middle school is on Mt. Royal Boulevard, the mascot was a husky, and the homecoming parade route was around the football field.

“It's a lot bigger nowadays,” Kaminski said.

The Class of 1963's homecoming queen, Lois (Kessler) Wagner will ride in the parade while wearing her high school homecoming crown.

The parade will follow a half-mile route from St. Bonaventure Catholic Church to the Titans' stadium behind Shaler Area Middle School. A picnic will take place on the school's campus at noon, and the homecoming football game against Fox Chapel Area starts at 1:30 p.m.

Mindy Thiel, activities director at the high school, said students have worked countless hours over the summer preparing the float skirts and designs, as well as decorations for the homecoming dance in anticipation of this weekend's events.

This past week, students have stayed up late into the night completing construction on the floats.

“Our parade is so deep in tradition that regardless if you're the Class of 1936 or modern-day classes, it's the memories of making the floats or being in the parade,” Thiel said of what makes Shaler Area homecoming special.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or

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