There was no need to strike up this band.
With drums pounding, horns blaring and dancers grooving on live television, Phineas Banning High School’s Marching Pilots band and cheer team played as though it were half-time of the school’s football game, instead of 5 a.m.
The students got up before dawn and into their uniforms so they could appear on “Yarda 50,” part of Telemundo’s early-morning coverage of high school football. The Banning Pilots were featured four times between 5 and 7 a.m., in four segments running about two minutes each.
“It was positive publicity for our school to showcase our amazing students,” said Principal Rudy Mendoza, adding that the show featured students involved in academics, clubs and student council, as well as band and sports.
“You had an array of representatives in uniforms from the Wilmington community. We have an outstanding school, an amazing student body, and we treat each other with respect,” he said. “It’s like a family.”
The high school is the heartbeat of Wilmington, located along the Harbor area, just east of San Pedro.
The “Yarda 50″ segments set up Banning’s Friday night team plays against George Washington Prep High School during what’s known as Senior Night. Football players, band and cheer team members who are in their final year of high school are introduced before the game and escorted by their parents onto the football field,” Mendoza explained. “It’s a time when students thank their parents for being supportive.”
Defensive end Josias Rabanales was among the players interviewed by the Spanish-language reporter. He talked earnestly about Washington Prep being a competitive team and said its players would want to represent their school well.
Senior Joey Becerra, who plays center for the Pilots, said it was “awesome” to have Telemundo on campus.
“It’s putting the city of Wilmington on the map, and our high school, Banning,” he said.