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The Parade Behind the Scenes: Highland High Students Rock at Gilbert Days

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The Gilbert Days Parade returned for its annual celebration of the town’s heritage on Saturday, November 18, 2023. The parade, which involved local businesses, nonprofit organizations, and special interest groups all marching down Gilbert Road in the heart of the historic Downtown Heritage District, featured all 39 Gilbert Public Schools and boasted a timeless Rock ‘N Roll theme. 

Highland High Gilbert Days Parade FloatWith great enthusiasm and excitement surrounding the parade, all GPS schools worked diligently to celebrate their school for the entire town to see. Each year the district tasks one of its five comprehensive high schools to take on the important job of creating the district float. This year, that task was given to Highland High School. Representatives of HHS brought their 'behind the scenes' operations to light, generously sharing how their vision for a parade float came to life.

Highland High School’s work on the float began nearly five weeks before the parade when the school formed its Gilbert Days Parade Committee. The committee, led by Social Studies Teacher Macey Peters, was made up of eight students who all made significant contributions to the float’s design and development.

To begin their work for the parade, each of the eight Gilbert Days Parade Committee members pitched a design idea for the float. All of the ideas were evaluated by the committee members, who then collectively created a final float design. The finalized design was then digitized so that the committee could more easily visualize what the float would look like in the real world.

To appeal to the Rock ‘N Roll theme of the parade, the Gilbert Days Parade Committee incorporated various musical elements into their float. The float was a colorful ensemble of balloons, hanging vinyl records, and streamers lined with guitars, all in the district colors of Gilbert Blue and Gilbert Gold.

“Our students were very excited and eager to work on this float. Their enthusiasm resulted in a really smooth process from start to finish,” added Macey Peters. “I couldn’t be more proud of my students. They’ve shown extraordinary skills in teamwork, communication, and organization to the point where they practically became self-sufficient.”  

All 39 Gilbert Public Schools participated in the Gilbert Days Parade, each showcasing the unique offerings that provide Arizona families with a strong educational choice in the Town of Gilbert and the City of Mesa. Gilbert Public Schools is thankful for every school’s contributions to the joyful event that celebrates the rich western history of the Town of Gilbert. To learn more about any of the 39 Gilbert Public Schools or to view previous parade celebrations, visit

Written by Tristan Chavez, Photo by Jonason Pauley