The Runnels School celebrated Mardi Gras on Feb. 5 with its traditional round of celebrations, entertainment and a small parade through the halls of the school, said Allison Wren, director of communications and public relations at the school.
The centerpiece of the celebration — coronations of the king and queen of the Krewe of Runnels Royale — was a special part of the week leading up to the Mardi Gras break in part because the robes used in the ceremonies are nearly as old as the school, itself.
“We’ve had them for 50 years,” Gladys Runnels, co-founder of the school, said.
They’ve been carefully cleaned and repaired over the years, and students are very careful with them, she said.
According to a release from Wren, preschool students were joined by their families, teachers and members of the Senior Beta Club for a parade on Feb. 5. Students rode on “floats” — decorated bikes, trikes, wagons, and just about anything with wheels — and tossed beads, stuffed animals and doubloons.
The elementary school coronation included the Mardi Gras Marching Band, made up of sixth- to 12th-grade students directed by Jill Swetnam, who marched through the halls to round up elementary students and lead them into the theatre.
Two “Royal Courts” were chosen in a drawing. Selected for the Petite Court (grades 1-3) were King Harrison Whitmore and Queen Sadie Miller (third grade), Princess Emerson Corder and Prince Bora Ates (first grade), and Princess Maeve Dolan and Prince Conner Joubert (second grade). The Grande Court was made up of King Omar Badawi, Queen Katherine Hinckle, Princess Katherine Campbell and Prince George Forgey, and Princess Dylan Sternberg and Prince Evan Shaneyfelt.
Though in years past teachers had provided the main entertainment for the coronation, Runnels said, in recent years, students have been taking on the tasks of creating and performing for teachers and fellow students.