Sherman Independent School District celebrated the start of homecoming week with its annual Homecoming parade Monday. The parade route began at the intersection of North Elm Street and West Mulberry Street and ended on North Rusk Street in front of Bearcat Stadium.

Parents, students and community members gathered in the downtown area to show their support. Shawn Ballard said he came out to support his daughter, Stormie Ballard, and the flag core.

“This is her first year in flag core,” Ballard said. “It’s really fun. She used to be in drill team, so it’s definitely not our first rodeo.”

Students nominated for the Homecoming court waived to the crowd as they rode by in various cars, trucks and jeeps. A nominee for Homecoming court was chosen from each of the extracurricular groups. Sherman High School junior Payton Williams said she came out to cheer on her friend.

“I’m here to see my best friend, Kaytlyn Hensley,” Williams said. “She was nominated for Homecoming Queen this year. I’m also excited and ready for the game Friday.”

The SHS band marched along side the color guard and was followed by the High Steppers and Cheerleaders. Kristi Beeler, owner of Kristina’s Studio of Dance in Sherman, said several of her students were participants in the parade.

“I came out to the parade to see some of my dance kids,” Beeler said. “We have drill team girls, Homecoming Queen nominees and cheerleaders. We come every year to see them.”

Maria Manzano said she felt it was important to show the community that the Bearcat family is large. Manzano’s daughter, Valeria Manzano, is the newly elected freshman class president at SHS and a member of the band.

“We are out because we need to support the kids and our Bearcat team,” Manzano said. “We need to make sure that everybody in the community knows that we are a big Bearcat family, and we need everybody to vote for the new bond election. We want them to know that we are a big community, and we need it for all of these little kids for sure.”

Freshman Connor Knight said he enjoyed his first chance to perform during the Homecoming parade.

“It was fun and amazing,” Knight said. “I loved it. This is our first time marching in the parade, and we have been practicing a lot. We have been practicing our basic drill block and our steps and techniques.”

In order to promote school spirit, students are encouraged to participate in a variety of themed dress days throughout the week. The Homecoming pep rally will be at 2:45 p.m. at the SHS gym on Friday. The game will follow at 7:30 p.m. with a pregame band performance. Homecoming Queen and King will be announced at halftime during the game. The dance will be on Saturday at 7 p.m. at SHS Cafeteria.