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The hallways, courtyards, and football field at Berkeley High were covered in a sea of red and gold Friday as thousands of students dressed up to celebrate Rally Day.

Teenagers painted their faces and chests red and gold, topped their heads with colored pom poms, and donned a lot of gold lame to declare their affection for Berkeley High.

After a day of shortened classes, the students gathered on the football field where they watched representatives from each year — as well as a group of brave teachers — dance. The senior class dancers won the competition for their choreography to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. (At least that’s what my daughter said the song was; the music was so loud I couldn’t distinguish anything.)

Security was tight. The school brought in 4 extra security guards to bring the detail up to 17. The campus was closed at noon, and no students were permitted to come onto campus after that. All students got green wristbands in their sixth period classes,  and they had to show their wristbands to get onto the field. Those without the wristbands were turned away.

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The Berkeley PHTSA had sent out an email Thursday night estimating that as many as 1,000 of the school’s 3,200 students might be inebriated. By 2:30, the time the rally started, security had only sent around five students home for being drunk, according to one guard.

The students on the field were in high spirits, but I did not see (ok, maybe there were a few) who seemed drunk or high. But my daughter and her friend estimated that as many as 70 percent of the seniors were high. Either they are very well-behaving drunks, were not that drunk, or I am just too old to tell.

The mood at Berkeley High was upbeat and the students seemed really proud to be part of the community.

asian group

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...