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Long Beach pep rally celebrates new post-Sandy gym floor

Long Beach High School junior Brian Horne, 16,

Long Beach High School junior Brian Horne, 16, was all decked out as his alter ego, the school mascot, for the homecoming pep rally. (Sept. 20, 2013) (Credit: Ursula Moore)

It’s been nearly a year since the Long Beach High School gymnasium was completely flooded by superstorm Sandy.

“There was water everywhere. We had to hold gym classes in different parts of the school because the floor was destroyed,” said Long Beach High School psychologist Matthew Morand, the student organization adviser.

What a difference a year makes.

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Long Beach High School students cheered, stamped, danced and showed school spirit Friday on the brand-new gymnasium floor at the homecoming pep rally.

“This is the first large event we have had since Sandy happened,” Morand said. “I am ecstatic about today.”

Long Beach High School junior Brian Horne -- dressed as the school mascot -- admits that the destruction that superstorm Sandy caused dampered many students' spirits.

“When Sandy happened, we went down as a school. There are still students in this school that still aren’t back in their homes.”

But Horne, 16, was thrilled Friday as he danced through the bleachers.

“I am very excited about the pep rally,” Horne said. “I love Long Beach High School. It’s the reason I became the school mascot. I want to put smiles on people’s faces.”

This year’s homecoming king and queen -- seniors Sam Rabiner, 17, and Hannah Piazza, 17 -- were excited to wear their crown and tiara.

“Four years ago, my sister Sarah was homecoming queen at this school. This is great,” Piazza said.

Long Beach High School Interim Principal Neil Lederer thought the pep rally would be a good time to awaken school spirit.

“The pep rally is a renewal for us after Sandy,” he said. “It’s wonderful to see the students walking around wearing blue and white showing their school spirit.”

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