PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — For the first time in nearly 20 years, Palm Beach County has a new high school, Dr. Joaquín García High School in western Lake Worth. And with that comes a new football team and programs that surround it.
When the Dr. Joaquín García Bulldogs hit the "Dog Pound" on Friday nights this football season, they'll have the Marching Bulldogs right there alongside them, creating new traditions for this brand new school.
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Drumming the same beat and stepping in unison. Just some of the ingredients needed for a new band program.
"It's been like herding cats, I'd like to say. People are coming from everywhere. So we're getting the dust settled and some people in," said band director John Rodriguez.
Rodriguez is creating a new legacy at García High School.
"It's been really cool to be a cog in the wheel, I like to say, in setting a good school culture and atmosphere here," Rodriguez said.
Creating what it means to be a Bulldog.
"Now we are writing our fight song. We're coming up with lyrics for that. We're deciding what songs to play and what our identity is going to be," Rodriguez said.
The band director came from another Palm Beach County high school, along with his wife, Hope, who leads the color guard. She calls this a once in a lifetime opportunity.
"We're the ones who are starting this. So whatever we chose to do will be forever here in history for this school and this program. So what an honor and what a responsibility to hold," Hope Rodriguez said.
Together, they are getting to know their new band family members from different schools and backgrounds.
"To have a fresh start with band and be able to create a foundation for the generations to come that will attend García," band member Joey Cabrera said.
While others followed their footsteps to become Bulldogs.
"They've become like second parents, you could say. And the band family and doing marching band without them felt weird," color guard member Shyanne Gray said.
But what unites them is a love for music.
"It's a way to express emotions," band member Sean Borrago said.
And being a part of something new.
"I'm looking forward to bringing energy and making people excited," color guard member Rin Blake added.
All getting ready to be under those Friday night lights.
"I've been working with the athletic director on what she wants to see," John Rodriguez said. "It's a very collaborative effort to bring that atmosphere to the first football game."
The Marching Bulldogs are still recruiting members. So if you are interested in joining this team, contact the band director.