Tiger teams may march in the parade

Let’s put those kids in the parade!

The Tigers of Ridgefield High School won the state boys Division I hockey championship, after taking the Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference (FCIAC) crown. The RHS girls cross country team won the FCIAC championship, then took the Class LL championship and the State Open. The girls soccer team won the FCIAC title and lost in the Class LL state finals. The boys basketball team won the FCIAC title. The Tigers football team and the girls volleyball team both made it to the Class LL state finals, before losing.

First Selectman Rudy Marconi is at work on a plan to invite, into the Memorial Day parade, a contingent made up of highly successful RHS Tiger teams — not just from athletics but from other extracurricular activities as well.

“The debate club, the math team — whichever teams have been successful, whether it’s athletic or non-athletic,” Marconi said.

Admittedly, the remarkable success of RHS athletic teams this year is what prompted the idea. Marconi first brought it up as an idea at the March 22 Board of Selectmen’s meeting, not long after the boys hockey team won the state championship.

“What we’re thinking of doing is putting on a parade,” Marconi said.

“You could put them at the head of the Memorial Day parade,” suggested Selectwoman Barbara Manners.

That — putting the teams in the Memorial Day parade, one of the biggest public events on the town calendar — seemed like a good idea.

And Marconi has been pursuing the notion, reaching out to Commander George Besse of the American Legion, which organizes the parade, and to High School Principal Stacey Gross.

“It’s progressing,” he told The Press March 27. “I did speak several times with the commander of the American Legion, who agrees that it would be a great way of recognizing our young students.

“He feels it would be a great addition to the Memorial Day parade — as long as people realize that the true spirit of the parade is honoring those who gave their lives to protect our freedom.”

Debate and drama

Marconi reiterated that the celebration wouldn’t be limited to sports.

“The debate team, they won the competition they were in,” he said.

“One year we had a parade, it was Homecoming parade, where Mr. Yolen, a math teacher, had a pickup truck with the math team in the back — they’d won all their competitions.”

Even the drama club, Marconi noted, often participates in a state competitive event in which it puts on a performance and is judged against other schools.

The idea — currently — is to have Ridgefield High School handle coming up with list of successful teams, in both various sports and non-athletic extracurricular activities, to invite to participate.

“We didn’t hear from the high school. I have to call Stacey and ask again,” Marconi said Monday, April 3. “But I did hear from Commander Besse of the American Legion.”

And the Legion puts on the parade.