George Bush High School honoring namesake, cadets to participate in ceremony

- Students at Bush High School are spending all week paying tribute to the namesake of their school.

The sound of the familiar tune “Rhosymedre", a piece by Britsh composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, was last performed at the 1997 funeral of British royal Princess Diana. But Tuesday evening's performance at Bush High School was part of a tribute concert put on by the varsity orchestra to honor the late president.

In fact, it’s just one of a series of dedications happening all week on campus.

"They know this is historical. We’re the only school that has his name," said principal Felicia James.

Student council members spent this week decorating columns and the foyer in red, white and blue ribbon, setting the scene for a tealight candle vigil.

"We’re going to put 41 lights here in this front area, which you know, he’s the 41st president," said student body treasurer, Kalkidean Admassu.

Down the hall, members of the Navy JR ROTC were running through drills, as 22 of them were invited by the Bush family to participate in the arrival ceremony at Ellington Field Wednesday.

Aresha Sheikh is a senior at Bush High School and the Commanding Officer of the 238 cadets in the unit. Sheikh is one of the 22 selected to participate in Wednesday's memorial services. 

"I’m excited and I’m honored to be able to go because not a lot of people get to have the opportunity to  go to a president’s funeral," said Sheikh.

Master Sergeant Reinaldo Mannings is one of the school’s original faculty members. He recalls a funny interaction with a student when George H.W. and Barbara Bush visited the campus when it first opened in 2001. 

"He was friendly and smiling all the time. Happy all the time. Same with his wife," said Mannings.

"I remember one student Julian Rojas. He was in charge of a fundraiser and the president joked that he had no where to sign the check, so he signed it on Julian's back. Then he gave Julian a shake, shaking his hand, gave him a hug and his wife gave Julian a kiss. So that was a happy, that was a big day for Julian. This was 18 years ago and I still remember it so vividly. That’s the kind of impact the president had on us," Mannings said.

"What way to honor him than to show the family, the Bush family that everything you’ve done is coming to fruition -- the investments you’ve made in society, the service you’ve given us. We do it all here at George Bush High School," James said. 

James said students are asked to dress in red, white and blue colors on Wednesday and of course sport their craziest, most colorful socks. The school will also be collecting new pairs of socks to be donated to a local charity at the end of the month. 

Tribute Week will wrap up on Friday with a parade at the school. 

James said the school hopes to make this dedication to President Bush a tradition for many years to come.

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