School spirit was in full effect as residents gathered downtown to cheer on the Vero Beach High Homecoming Parade on Thursday. The sounds from whistles, drums and horns could be heard before the Fighting Indians Band marched down the streets in formation.
“Being able to march with the Vero Beach High School band in the parade is such an amazing opportunity,” said flutist Jada Heppern, a junior who also helped lead the ensemble during the 42nd Annual Crown Jewel Marching Band Festival at the school’s Citrus Bowl Stadium last weekend. “I’m super excited to march as a drum major this year.”
Indian River School Board Chair Dr. Peggy Jones was the Grand Marshal for the event.
Families, students and alumni lined the streets wearing red and black – the school colors – as cars and floats passed by with the backbeat of tapping drums in the distance. One float featured a group of students riding on a large, off-road platform vehicle.
The high-energy carried over to Friday night as Vero Beach High School faced off against Martin County High School.
On Friday mornings during the football season, players, coaches and cheerleaders gather for a prayer breakfast hosted by the Indian River County Sports Ministry. It’s an important aspect that creates fellowship among the students and staff, said the ministry’s president Joe Moore Jr.
“It’s how we start our game day. The prayer breakfast event contributes to the promotion of team building and bonding that fosters a family-type atmosphere within a team concept,” said Moore, a retired U.S. Army Master Sgt. “For many of our student-athletes, this is the only church and wholesome family environment that they are able to enjoy on a weekly basis.”
The breakfast gatherings at the Family Life Center at First Baptist Church have been held for the past 12 years. Coaches and students enjoy a full course buffet meal along with faith-driven, impactful messages from local clergymen, said Moore, a pastor at Rivers of Living Water Rhema Word Ministries.
The guest speakers on Friday morning were School District Superintendent Dr. David Moore and Assistant Superintendent Eric Seymour. Both gave the young athletes uplifting words of encouragement.
The football players – who were featured on the Today Show last October – sealed the win against Martin County High School that evening in a 28-3 victory. This brings the Vero football team to a 7-1 record so far this season.