07 Dec My Memory of East High, By Dana Dorsey
Growing up on the Near East Side and being alumni of East High School has really made an impact on who I am as a person and my view of the world. I love the rich heritage, history and tradition of my community. I have so many warm memories and hope to create more in the future! There is something truly awesome and special about growing up in the same community as my parents, grandparents and great grandparents.
Some of my fondest and earliest memories come from the Near East Side. I remember going to summer concerts at Mt. Vernon Plaza, ballet dancing at the King Arts Complex, swimming and playing soccer at Maryland Pool and so much more. But my best memories come from my days at East High School.
My proudest and most vivid memories are watching and marching in the East High School Friday night football game parades to Harley Field. As a child, going to the parades was always something I looked forward to; it was exciting to see a sea of orange and black marching down the street. I watched in awe at the high-stepping drum majors, the beautiful drill team dancers in their elaborate costumes doing turns and kicks. The roar of the horns and drums left me breathless and often made my heart skip a beat. But even more enriching was the sense of community and family I felt as a spectator. From the oldest to the youngest, there was a mutual sense of togetherness and love for East High School and our community. I couldn’t wait for the day when I would be able to be a part of such a movement. My sophomore year, as a cheerleader, I finally got a chance to become a part of what I had experienced for so many years. I can still remember my first parade and the butterflies that I had in my stomach. I was anxious about remembering my moves, marching on the right foot and looking good in front of my family and friends, but even through my nervousness I could not stop grinning. It was amazing to see the smiling faces of my friends, relatives, neighbors and even total strangers and to be able to feel togetherness and community with them. The intense feelings of pride and love I felt marching in those parades are truly feelings I had never felt before and haven’t fully experienced since.
I am proud to be a part of the Near East Side community and alumni of East High School. Both have given me a truly unique sense of pride, tradition and adoration. Not many people get a chance to attend the same high school and share the same memories as their grandparents, parents and other various family members. Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the fact that every day I get to walk the same streets as my great-grandparents and that I have become a part of the neighborhood and traditions they got to experience. The Near East Side is not only a special neighborhood to me, the awesome thing is that my story is not inherently unique, many of us have felt these feelings and shared the same traditions. The Near East Side has fostered a sense of admiration that never truly leaves its residents no matter how far they may go. I am a living testament to that!