Sweltering temperatures did not deter a large turnout of between 300 and 400 students, parents, vendors and Harker Heights residents for the second annual Harker Heights High School’s Community Back-to-School Rally on Aug. 22.

“We put on this rally to get the school year started in an exciting way,” said Councilman Pat Christ.

The Red Brigade Band, directed by David Norris, kicked off the event with the school fight song while football, volleyball, cross country and tennis players made their way to the track through cheer lines.

Cheerleaders Sami Marburger, 16, and Brittney Williams, 16, said leading cheers at the high school is hard work, but it’s fun when it comes to game time.

The national anthem played by the band was followed by Mayor Pro Tem Hal Schiffman reading a proclamation from the city.

“One of our goals at the school is to get the community involved and it’s really showing tonight,” Principal Larry Brazzil said. “It’s 10 times larger this year than it was last year. I can just imagine what it’s going to be like next year.”

After the pep rally, participants were invited to visit booths sponsored by student organizations and local businesses.

“The best thing in our booth was snow cones on a hot, hot, hot Texas day,” said Adam Scarr, historian of the Cheerleader Booster Club, whose daughter Madison is on the squad

Kaitlin Sutton, 15, Sarah Hoenig, 15, and Jill Sirerson, 15, all said they came to the rally to be with their friends that they haven’t seen since summer break.

Students were impressed by the number of people who attended to express their appreciation to Harker Heights High School.

“This is a fun event to get the team back together, meet the coaches, and see the support for the Knights,” said Thai Goodwin, 17, a slot receiver on the Knights varsity football team.

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