Students volunteer for Monday's event
JANESVILLE The Craig High School band members, cheerleaders and pompon squad members who performed at the Paul Ryan event Monday did so voluntarily, a school spokesman said.
About 40 members of the band played "Louie, Louie," "This is My Country," the Black-Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," and "God Bless America," among other tunes before recorded music took over as the crowd waited for the program to begin.
Band Director Dave Rush said about 40 of the 140 band members volunteered. He got them ready for the performance but did not lead them in the gym because he believes political events should not be held in schools.
Teachers were not required to be there, Rush said.
"Regardless of whether it's a Republican or Democratic candidate, I have philosophical issues with any of that being at a public school," Rush said. "I think it's wonderful that one of our own is in this position, regardless of my political views, but personally I thought it should've happened at the Pontiac Convention Center or Holiday Inn Express or something like that."
Band member Holly Sievers said she doesn't think about politics, but her father and grandmother are Ryan fans.
"I support his ideas about the economy," said drummer Brett Ziebell.
Girls in cheer and pompon uniforms formed a corridor of shaking pompons as Ryan took the stage.
Maddie Blomgren was among the pompon shakers. She said she was excited that Ryan, a Craig alumnus, had risen so high.
"It shows you don't have to come from a big city to make a difference," Maddie said.
Other student volunteers included Craig seniors Connor McMahon, who sang the national anthem, and Kei Fujisawa, who led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Craig mascot was there, as well, dancing as if at a basketball game. The mascot stayed true to the Mascot Code, refusing to speak, but a friend said the student inside was Ozzie Fernandez.
The gym was decorated with posters and banners taped to the walls. Volunteers made them the night before, said volunteer Josh Matthews, a UW-Whitewater graduate whose sister worked as an intern in Ryan's office.
Asked about the campaign using the school for its signs, Superintendent Karen Schulte noted that the campaign was paying $60 an hour to rent the facility.
"How would that be any different from a wedding reception where you put up streamers and garlands?" school board member Scott Feldt said.
Several school administrators and school board members attended the event.