MONROVIA – Monrovia residents were treated to a strange and lively sight on May 20 as Monrovia Unified students – dressed as Princess Leia, Batman and other well-known heroes – danced atop a star-spangled float while singing “Raise You Up” from the musical “Kinky Boots” as part of the Monrovia Days community festival parade.
The event’s theme honored the city’s hometown heroes, including doctors and nurses, firefighters, police officers, men and women in the U.S. military, and student leaders.
“I remember going to Monrovia Days when I was a child and seeing all of the cool things I could do and it inspired me to join different clubs as I got older,” Monrovia High sophomore and cheerleader Cori Donnerson said. “Being in the parade gave me the opportunity to be a role model the same way someone else was a role model to me.”
The two-day festival, held at Library Park, was hosted by the Monrovia Unified School District, the City of Monrovia and Centre Stage. It featured family-friendly attractions, entertainment, food, games and carnival rides.
The District had more than half a dozen booths set up during the festival to shine a light on various award-winning programs, including robotics, ceramics and how Code to the Future can provide students with the skills they need to obtain careers in computer technology.
“We love Monrovia Days and our participation in the parade because it’s a great way to promote all the artistic, athletic and academic excellence that our students possess,” Monrovia Unified Board Vice President Terrence Williams said. “Our teachers, students and staff work so hard every year to make our programs the greatest and they deserve every moment to showcase their success.”
The Monrovia High robotics club drew large crowds as club members and coach Brian Johnson gave demonstrations of working robots and detailed the program’s growing popularity. The robots, built by the Suit Bots, Kings and Queens and Graveyard Shift teams, were created to slide blocks into different goals as well as shoot balls into aerial goals.
“Monrovia Days is a big part of how our District’s programs get attention from the community,” Johnson said. “This event does a great job of promoting the work the District has done with its math and science academy and coding classes.”
Johnson said public demonstrations conducted by the robotics teams at events like Monrovia Days are perfect for getting young students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and ensures that school activities get sponsorship and more program applicants.
District students also took center stage at the festival, with performances from second- and third-grade choir groups, the Monrovia High Camerata Singers, and No Compromise, a band constituted of students from Clifton Middle School.
“It’s great to see so many parents and community members come out and show their support for our amazing students and programs,” Monrovia Unified Superintendent Dr. Katherine Thorossian said. “We look forward to this event each year because it showcases our successful students and programs and hopefully gives younger students an idea as to what they might want to pursue.”
053017_MUSD_MONROVIADAYS1: Monrovia High School robotics club coach Brian Johnson describes robots built by the club at the Monrovia Days festival on May 20. The robotics club had a stream of visitors asking about the program’s award-winning legacy and its growth over the years.
053017_MUSD_MONROVIADAYS2: Monrovia High seniors Kaden Edwards (left), Nomar Ramirez (center) and sophomore Daisy Garcia (right) explain the use of a pottery wheel to create ceramic art during the Monrovia Days festival on May 20.