LuzElena Hernandez: How long have you lived in Del Rio?
Soila Velasquez: I’ve lived in Del Rio all of my life.
LH: There were two high schools which were San Felipe and Del Rio, which did you attend?
SV: I attended San Felipe High School.
LH: Can you describe what your school day was like?
SV: Um, my school day was pretty normal. Um we would go to school and had the regular classes. At that time we would go home for lunch. We would walk to and from school and after school we went home unless we had other things to do.
LH: Were you involved in any extracurricular activities or clubs?
SV: I was a member of the San Felipe…well actually I was just a member of the Future Homemakers of America and I used to like to help the cheerleaders do the banners for the pep-rallies.
LH: What were the pep rallies like?
SV: The pep rallies were…fantastic. They were full of a lot of spirit. Um, all the school would get involved. We had the regular competition among classes, freshman sophomores, juniors, seniors and um we all fit into the auditorium. That’s were we had our pep rallies.
LH: What about Friday night football games?
SV: (Smiling) Friday night football was the best thing ever. Um, that was the place to be on a Friday night. Everybody just assumed that you were gonna go to the football game. Uh a lot of us either, well if you were a member of the band, a member of the drill team whatever would go, and everyone would get involved. Parents would go, and the students would go and the whole community would go. It was very nice.
LH: Um, there was a rivalry between the Wildcats and the Mustangs, so what was that like?
SV: (chuckling) The biggest rivalry ever, uh, of course we didn’t like the wildcats, as they were called, we were the Mustangs and of course purple and gold ruled, and that’s who we were and we were rivals.
LH: What was it like when everybody heard or found out that the schools were combining?
SV: I think, uh, just like, well I know for myself I was very sad, I cried and I couldn’t believe it, and it was gonna be my senior year so it was even worse. Um and I wasn’t going to graduate from High school, from MY San Felipe high school and everything was gonna be totally different, and why did it have to happen in my senior year? I don’t know, but that’s the way it was.
LH: Do you know why the school’s had to combine?
SV: No, um I don’t think the students were ever told the reason for that. Uh, I know that at the end of my junior year there was no announcement ‘school is not gonna be open next year’ or… uh, I don’t think any of us had any idea of what was coming.
LH: Did the students have any kind of petitions or anything like that to stop it?
SV: No, because I don’t think we had time, because we were not told at the end of the school year. Um, I don’t even know if the parents knew. I have no idea if anything went out I had no idea. I was unaware, um and during the summer well everybody’s out and so as it got closer to the school opening again or um the new year coming up ahead uh we heard that we were consolidated. That was the first time ever we… or at least I had heard.
LH: Do you remember any of the rumors why the schools were combining? Do you remember any of the reasons why?
SV: I had heard that… it was because our district was very poor and that was one rumor that I had heard. The other was that uh, there was a rumor that the students from Laughlin were being bused to Del Rio instead of San Felipe school and uh…I don’t know if that was true or not true or if that was the way it was supposed to be or not. Uh as a student I didn’t understand that and I didn’t even look into it.
LH: What was that first day of school like?
SV: Oh, that first day was uh pretty bad it was not….not knowing what was gonna happen. Uh…it was going to a brand new school you had never even been into. Um…it was the fear of not knowing what was going to happen…how you were already feeling uneasy about going to the school, much less knowing where your classroom was gonna be and things in that sort. Uh, I just remember that the school at the time, well you know you’re 17, 18 years old, thinking ‘my god this school is huge’ and um, ours was small and you knew your way around…and here it was totally different.
LH: Was there any violence between students?
SV: Oh yes. There was the…um…I think about the first 6, 4 to 6 weeks it was…very tense moments. A lot of fights would break out…in the cafeteria or, the area right across from the library, uh there was a lot of outbreaks at the time, uh…back then the boys would be the ones to start the fights or get into fights, um, the girls…I don’t remember getting into fist fights, I remember getting into verbal fights uh, I would remember that you know, they would tell you things and then of course you would tell them things back. But uh, there was a lot of fights. I remember one occasion…where it seemed like a riot inside the…uh, that area, and I remember boys banging against lockers and girls screaming and crying and the faculty trying to get order and…I don’t remember (chuckling) if they let us go home for the day or what…I don’t remember. But that one incident was very, very tense; it was um…I would say over, I remember that there was just a lot of us. We just happened to be at the place when it started and so, uh not that we were involved, but the boys from my school were and uh they were and there was a lot of fights, there was a lot of fights.
LH: Did the teachers all you know, did you still have all of your old teachers there?
SV: Uh yeah, I think so. I guess most of the teachers from San Felipe just transferred to the new school district, and it was good to see somebody that you knew, and then the other teachers weren’t so bad, so you got to meet new teachers also, but a lot of them, I think the majority of the teachers from the old high school came on.
LH: What were the extra-curricular activities like now with both of the schools?
SV: We had the same clubs, we, you had the band and you had the…drill team, and the pep squad, and then of course there were um, the yearbook club, and all the others clubs that they all had. I think each school had the same thing. Um, and I think they just merged once they got together. And I think the student council was the one that, got the, everything out again, like the new school colors, and the mascot and things of that sort, and that’s how ya’ll came to be the rams. (Laughing)
LH: So how was that like? Having to adapt to new school colors that you weren’t used to.
SV: Um, I think that, knowing that we had representation from our old school, uh and the fact that it was neither theirs nor ours it was something totally neutral uh, it wasn’t gonna be purple and gold anymore, but it wasn’t gonna be maroon and gold either and uh it wasn’t going to be the ‘High Stepping Senoritas’, which was our drill team, and it wasn’t going to be the ‘Del Rio Dolls’ either. So we had to come up with um, everything, a new fight song, we had to come up with, everything. And so, for a while there it was like two of each, well you know, we had to student councils that had to come together, we had two bands that had to come together, uh everything, you had two of everything and so well, I don’t know how it felt for them being in now, one band because I didn’t belong to the band, but uh, I guess once they gave us…because the way they did it was they polled every student. You got to vote for whatever you wanted. And uh they would ask you, ‘okay here’s the ballot for the new mascot and on there it had a different thing. Everything except a mustang (chuckling) or a wildcat. And uh the majority voted for what is now the ram. And, you know I think they would give you a little thing like ‘ well you know the ram stood for wool and mohair’ which was something that was done here in Del Rio and um, things of that sort, and so they would give you a little history and I think that was good also. But uh, knowing that people that you knew had an input in what we were gonna decide for the future was good, it, it sort of kind of gave you a little bit of reassurance that you were not gonna be faded out, completely.
LH: What were the football games like now? Do you remember going?
SV: To the games, uh, it was…it was um…It was okay. You still went to the football games, Del Rio was, is a small community so there was nothing else to do, so you went to the football games. Um it was a little different in the sense that you didn’t recognize right off, the colors…well not recognize, but you didn’t feel for it. You didn’t feel the love that you had for your old school, you know, anytime you saw your colors or your mascot, you went crazy. And this time it was just sort of kind of…in the beginning it was like a little numb. It was like, you didn’t know if you wanted to except it or not and you didn’t know whether you were happy or sad, and you didn’t know…I think the feeling was you didn’t know how to react to something that was totally different.
LH: When do you remember feeling like, you know the schools, it was actually becoming one and not everybody was separated?
SV: I think uh…for me almost towards the end of the school year it was a little bit of uh, sort of getting over the shock and adapting to it as much as you could. It was my senior year and therefore, personally I didn’t get to grow to love it uh I moved on and so with me I took the previous eleven years that I had been in school, and so that was my love. But…as far as the thirty-three years that have gone by, you sort of kind of…get used to it, but I think if you’re a student and you grow with it, well then that’s your love, that’s something that you treasure…but uh its grown on me, sort of…kind of. But I still long for my purple and gold, (smiling) every time I see purple and gold I go crazy. Every time I think homecoming, my idea of homecoming is a REAL mum with purple and gold streamers, uh but I’ve gotten used to the idea that it’s blue and white. (Chuckling)
LH: What was your graduation day like?
SV: It was very nice. It was different in the sense that we had a very large, large class. We were the first class that was so huge because two schools came together, and that was an experience in itself…But it was fun, it was nice, it was the idea of graduating from high school. Um, I don’t remember…it…um I remember wearing a blue gown and so it really didn’t, uh…by that time it didn’t phase me too much that it wasn’t a purple and gold tassel or things of that sort, but I think, I focused more on just graduating. I can still remember when we sat down to take the class picture, out at the…on the bleachers. All you saw was tiny little faces on that huge picture, and you’re going like ‘well I’m still there’. (Laughing) But uh, it was different…it was so much different.