Baby Rattlers enjoy homecoming march

The high school students played their hearts out for their special guest.

Ronald Holmes, the new superintendent of Florida A & M University’s Developmental Research School, marched with his students during their homecoming parade yesterday. Holmes strode in time with students for an hour as they walked from Bragg Stadium to Osceola Street.

The parade included organizations such as the East Gadsden ROTC program, FAMU Marching 100, and FAMU’s police department.

“It was great to have been a part of the parade with some of the greatest students,” said Holmes as he caught his breath after the parade. “I am glad to be a part of this school.”

This is the first year Holmes has been to a DRS parade. He took over leadership of the K-12 school this January. His goal is to improve the school, which received an F-grade from the state. A new campus is being built at west Orange Avenue and Wahnish Way.

“At least 200 people were in the parade,” said Holmes.

While this was Holmes’ first parade, Betty Jones, a clerk at DRS has seen quite a few during her 30 years at the school. Jones said that it usually takes at least a month to prepare for the parade. “We started getting ready about 3 weeks ago,” Jones said.

Holmes said as part of the planning process for the parade, DRS staff had to get consent from the FAMU police department. Officers led the marchers through the blocked off streets.

As the parade passed through campus, Steven Lawal, a civil engineering student from Miami, stopped to enjoy the music and dancing.

“As I was headed to my class, I walked past the set, and saw the parade,” Lawal, 19, said. “I enjoyed seeing the high school students participating, and their interaction with the crowd on the set. They certainly got my attention.”

Orphelia Patterson, 19, psychology student, from Queens, N.Y., was standing at the bus station on The Set watching the students show their school pride.

“I enjoyed the younger children they were very beautiful,” said Patterson. “I really enjoyed the candy they threw in my direction.”

DRS students were also enjoying the view.

“We liked walking by and seeing the college students, especially the women,” said Jarrod Marble, 18, a high school senior. Marble was standing in a group that included fellow Baby Rattler football player, Alex Williams, 17. For Williams, the parade was a warm-up to the homecoming game against James Rickards High School.

“Seeing the college life gets me excited for tomorrow night’s game,” said Williams. “I know we’re going to win.”