Alumni and students will ride down Montana Avenue on Thursday in the First Light Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade.
The float is the result of a partnership between El Paso High and Jefferson High School’s metal trade students, led by teacher John Gable. It took more than 60 metal trade students nearly a year to create the float, which stretches 30 feet long, 20 feet wide and 14.5 feet high.
“I was excited they wanted us to do it,” Gable said. “I thought it was a great project for my kids because they would get to use a lot of what they are learning in class to make the float. It falls right in with what they are learning academically.”
Over the years, the Jefferson metal trades classes have become known for building floats for the annual Thanksgiving Day parade. Gable and his students enjoyed the learning experience the float building process entailed.
“It takes a lot of time and precise measurements to get everything the way it should be,” senior Andres Alvidres said. “It was an awesome experience learning how to build a float. I really liked it.”
His favorite part of the project: “We all bonded as a group and worked together.”
Senior Dante Serna has been enrolled in metal trades all four years of high school, but this is the first time he has helped build a float.
“It was a great experience for me because I want to be a welder,” Serna said. “It was awesome being part of El Paso High’s celebration and seeing our work come to life from a blueprint.”
The float features a replica of the century-old Trost building overlooking Jones Stadium emblazoned with a large “100.”
“What has been really different about this float is working with El Paso High and having that camaraderie with them,” Gable said. “It all goes back to that same concept of ‘I am EPISD.’ We are a family.”
The El Paso High Alumni Association has been the driving force for fundraising and planning the parade float. Alumna Anna Mares, the project engineer, was happy to get more EPISD students on board to celebrate the Lady on the Hill. Several Jefferson students will ride alongside the El Paso High alumni and students.
“It takes a lot of work, but we wanted this to be about the kids and the collaboration,” Mares said. “It’s a team effort. The Jefferson students have been such a big part of it, so we wanted to make sure and include them in the celebration.”
Mares hopes the EPISD community will help celebrate as well.
“We want people wear orange and black because that’s been our motto for the Centennial. We really want to paint the town orange and black,” Mares said.
El Paso High and Jefferson won’t be the only schools representing EPISD next Thursday. The Burges and Austin high school bands also will bring their A-game to the Thanksgiving celebration.