The Mira Mesa High School "Sapphire Sound" marching band and color guard Friday received an invitation to participate in the 2022 Rose Parade on New Year's Day, one of just 16 in the world to receive the invite.
Robert Miller, president of the Tournament of Roses personally delivered the invitation for the 133rd Rose Parade at the high school and presented a Rose Parade flag for the school to keep and display.
During the invitation event, the band performed several musical selections -- including the national anthem -- on the school's football field. Mira Mesa's ensemble totals 225 members.
"We are honored to receive an invitation to march in the 2022 Rose Parade," said Jeanne Christensen, Mira Mesa's director of bands. "The students have had so many hurdles to overcome for more than a year but they haven't let that stop their dedication and focus.
"They've put in a lot of hard work doing something they love and this is the culmination of that effort," Christensen said.
This will be the second time Mira Mesa High School will march in the Rose Parade, following its debut appearance in 2016. Prior to that appearance, San Diego Unified School District had not had a school march in the Rose Parade since Patrick Henry High School in 1986.
Mira Mesa was selected to participate in the 2021 Rose Parade but the event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Pasadena's Health Department has strongly encouraged participants to receive a vaccination ahead of the parade.
San Diego Unified has likewise encouraged all families to get eligible students vaccinated.
"This is an incredible honor for the entire Mira Mesa High School program, Mira Mesa community and San Diego Unified," said the district's interim Superintendent Lamont Jackson. "Getting an invitation to the Rose Parade is a rare accomplishment.
"The fact that this is the second time for the "Sapphire Sound" Marching Band shows the true talent and dedication of students, teachers and staff at this school, he said. "The leadership of Jeanne Christensen reflects the spirit of Ubuntu: We are because she is."
Mira Mesa is one of just 16 marching bands worldwide being invited to the Rose Parade, with representatives from as far away as Italy and Japan.
According to the Tournament of Roses, around 700,000 spectators are expected to line the streets along Colorado Boulevard for the more-than-five- mile parade route.
To help fund the cost of the 2022 trip, the high school is welcoming financial donations through a link on its website.