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500 East LA High School Students Unite In Flashmob

Students at Esteban E. Torres High School in East Los Angeles last week “got a feeling” that their homecoming game and dance would be memorable.

Nearly 500 students packed the quad on Oct. 12 for a lunchtime mass flashmob dance to the Black-Eyed Peas’ hit song, “I’ve Got A Feeling.”

The event marked the culmination of the schools’ first spirit week; the school opened three years ago and the football team has been in existence for two years. Last year, the school graduated its first senior class.

Five pep rallies–one for each school on the campus–took place earlier that day, with students dancing to “I’ve Got A Feeling” to celebrate the school’s athletes.

Torres High School students participate in a choreographed dance for their homecoming week celebrations. (EGP photo by Gloria Angelina Castillo)

The dance was led by the East LA Performing Arts Academy, one of the five schools on the Torres campus, which is supported by a grant from the Flourish Foundation, a charitable organization established by Phil Rosenthal, producer of “Everybody Loves Raymond,” according to an LAUSD press release.

East LA Performing Arts Academy Principal Carolyn McKnight said her students have been studying the world-wide flashmob dance movement and the dance choreography was taught to all her students, and campus-wide to leadership and dance students, the cheer squad, as well as half of the football.

“We’re hoping it’s going to be a tradition,” McKnight said about the activity that brought together the students who were smiling, laughing and moving their bodies.

Senior Gracie Aguilar, a volleyball and softball player, told EGP the flash dance was fun and inspired other students to be more outgoing.

The Toros played and beat Bernstein High School, located in Hollywood, for the homecoming. The Toros varsity football team won 10 to 6 varsity, while junior varsity won with a 7 to 0 score, according to McKnight.

Torres Football is a Division 2 team and does not currently compete against the nearby Roosevelt Roughriders or Garfield Bulldogs that are Division 1 teams, according to Torres Head Football Coach Peter Cuevas.

The opening of Torres High School stirred some concern early on among East LA Classic fans who worried the moving of students would be the end of the long-time Roosevelt and Garfield rivalry. However, the fear so far has been unfounded and Torres is still several years away from catching up in numbers and performance.

The East LA Classic is on Oct. 26 this year.

Cuevas said students at Torres come from both Roosevelt and Garfield schools attendance areas, and Torres is still forming its own identity, “It will take some time,” he said.

“We are ‘the new pride of East LA,” said Aguilar, reciting Torres’ unofficial school motto.

Football player Ray Robles, a student at the East LA Performing Arts Academy and one of the team’s standout players, said the spirit activities help make Torres a little more like established schools. Robles attended Roosevelt High School his freshman year.

Robles said the first year of football was difficult because players didn’t get along due to loyalty to their past alma matters, however, the team has now come together. They attended the East LA Classic last year and sat together without picking a side, he said.

What a video clip of the flashmob dance at EGPnews.com