COMMENTARY: Bob Rodericks
I was there, as were many of you, in 1984 when Superintendent of Schools Myron J. Francis instituted the first Townie Pride parade. It was held during the centennial celebration of East Providence High School. On that weekend in 1984, thousands marched from Hull Street playground to Waterman Avenue, down Pawtucket Avenue ending at the high school. A weekend of festivities took place on the campus of EPHS. There was a dunk tank, dozens of vendor booths, tons of food and crafts and band concerts.
Dr. F. Paul Colella was General Chairman and directed a superb weekend which included an all-class reunion. A memorial service was held and there were free outdoor concerts. School bands and choral groups performed including a great Swing Band concert, drama presentations and a gala evening dance. A little rain forced the dance indoors but didn't dampen our spirit!
The first EPHS Hall of Fame Induction ceremony was held and the gym and pool (yes, I said pool) were open for scheduled athletic events.
A concert committee led by chairperson Patricia Armstrong and Carol Hartley put together a wonderful musical program. The combined choirs and bands ended their program with a moving performance of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and the EPHS "Alma Mater."
1884-1984, 100 years of Townie tradition was honored in style. For many of us that pride continues. The big parades subsided but several years ago the Townie Parade came back as Townie Pride Night before an October football game. From 1984 to now, I've been at all of them.
The 2018 version held last night at Pierce Stadium was awesome. It was heartening to see so many students, families, school staff and the community at large come out in such a large number! People had a great time. The football team helped out by banging out a 47-16 win over tough Cranston East!
As a 1972 EPHS graduate I continue to have that intense Townie Pride. It gets tested at times by naysayers and those who choose to let our city deteriorate, but I always pull on my memories to get re-stoked for the kids and families of today.
Congratulations to the Townies of today for a wonderful coming together Friday night, October 5, 2018, in a successful demonstration of Townie Pride. As good as ever!
Thanks to the late Myron J. Francis, considered the Father of Townie Pride for a legacy that continues on...
Enjoy some photos from the event. Most were taken by me and some are shared from Townie friends on social media. Thanks all.