Fifteen Taft Union High School students had the excitement of a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in a world-famous event when they helped decorate floats for the 125th anniversary Rose Bowl Parade on New Year's Day.
The Key Club members, the high school version of the Kiwanis Club, left Taft at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, and drove to Pumpkin Center where they joined three buses full of Key Club members from Bakersfield high schools. They spent all day working on floats in Pasadena, finally arriving back in Taft at 9 p.m.
Senior Leslie Tacza said, "When you think of Taft High, it was awesome that we were able to experience something so big. It felt good to help contribute to it." More than 400 high school students worked on the floats on Dec. 21.
The students, along with Key Club adviser Sharon Hill and Kiwanis members Greg Mudge and Kathy Orrin, either glued celery or poppy seeds on boards or cut purple or blue flowers. They laid the foundation for others to add to later. Flowers were glued on the floats on Dec. 28 and 29.
Hill said it was a lot of hard work. She worked on inside parts of the float that the public could not see, but the judges would. Still, she, and all the students interviewed, said even though their part was small, the experience was rewarding and they would gladly do it again if they had the opportunity. Senior Brenda Arellano cut flowers for the word "Honda" on the Honda float. She said the Honda float was the length of three floats and was the longest on record for the parade.
Senior Cristina Diaz and others worked on the Monster truck float. Tacza said, "Key Club is my favorite club on campus. It was just a good experience, especially for the underclassmen."