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Opening Ceremonies Script view

Torchbearer / Flag Bearer / Color Guard Guidelines

Rally Rag Resource 

Opening Ceremony Timeline

created 2012 by Julie Altinger


Decide who will be your overall Opening Ceremony Coordinator.  Plan to meet with coordinator from previous year to go over specific duties.


Check in with the Assistant Superintendent to see if the 6th grade band will be able to perform at JO.  Meet with the music teacher(s).  The 2012 contact was John Beeman ( Confirm that they will play the usual pieces, Olympic Fanfare and The Star Spangled Banner.  Also check to see if there are any changes in the 6th grade band teachers from the year before, so that the changes can be made in the program.


Ask your Principal/6th Grade teachers to choose the torch runners, flag bearers and color guard (you will need these names by late March for the program).  Selection criteria should be available on the website.  Determine with your principal and teachers when the names will be announced, and if it will be kept a secret until that time.  Flag bearers carry the American and Olympic flags, and are escorted by the color guard.  Flag bearers will not be able to play with the band during OC, but torch bearers can without any problem.

The American flag is carried by a 6th grader with (2) color guard from the 5th grade flanking him/her. The Olympic flag is carried by a 6th grader with (2) color guard from the 4th grade flanking him/ her. 

Order balloons.  Ensure a 7:00-7:15AM delivery and ask about payment.  Colleen from balloon designs preferred payment on delivery.  (We had no problems at all with Colleen – balloons were delivered on time, and we worked from the previous year’s invoice.  See invoice in binder. Note – we were unsure where the “extra” balloon bouquets were supposed to go, and ended up putting them at the information, field pass, and first-aid booths.)

Update the OC map (see binder and disk).  Change school positions, etc. as necessary, and post to website. (The map is done in power point, and was very easy to update.)

Speak with host school about date and time for torch/flag bearer rehearsal.  They will confirm access to the track. (We held the rehearsal on the Wednesday evening before JO.)  Send a “save the date” to flag & torch bearers as soon as you have their names (make sure students have been told that they have been selected!)


Ask every school to recruit (2) Opening Ceremony coordinators to help assemble and set up the students, banner, balloons and mascot prior to OC, and to accompany students onto the field.  Post instructions on the JO website, so that they can be distributed at each school.

Confirm an Olympic torch for the torch relay.  In recent years, we have used an authentic Olympic torch that belongs to the deMonet family from Springer.  Ask one of the committee members from Springer to inquire.  You will want an adult volunteer to assume responsibility for the torch during and following OC.  (We had a parent hold it at the edge of the field until the torch relay.  They then handed it to the first runners, and collected it from the last. Following OC, they locked it up in their car, and returned it to the Springer committee members at the end of the day.)

Check the OC bin (in the District JO Shed) for supplies and parts.  The bin should contain the flags, poles, “practice torch”, school signs, and a set-up diagram.  Practice assembling the flag poles (you will probably want to reinforce joints with clear tape for the day of JO.) Plan to borrow flag stands from your multi the Friday before JO.  These can be used to hold the flags in the staging area, and can also be used on the field.  (It may be easier to just have the kids hold the flags without stands on the field, as they tend to wobble in the stands and require holding anyway.)

Remind each school that you will need the name of each torch bearer along with a parent email address.  This way you can contact them directly with instructions, map, and rehearsal announcement. 

Forward your school’s torch bearer, flag bearer, and color guard names to the school doing the program.

Look over announcer’s script for OC (see binder/disk).  You will be responsible for updating the script as necessary (dates, student names, VIPs, etc.).  


Confirm that you have enough volunteers for the Opening Ceremony (volunteer description in the binder).  E-mail all volunteers their job descriptions as well as the OC Map.  Confirm that the torch bearer coordinator, flag bearer coordinator, and at least Guide #1 can attend the OC rehearsal.

Confirm balloon delivery.

Check in with band director to confirm all is going according to plan.  Make sure music teachers remind students to arrive without instrument cases to staging area on the day of JO, and to make a plan with parents to relinquish instruments following the opening ceremony.

Confirm the LAEF spokesperson (usually the President), and forward them a copy of the previous script.  Ask them to update and return to you so you can include it in the announcer’s copy.  Also confirm that they will bring the LAEF banner.  (Usually Shobana brings this herself).  The banner is usually carried by the PE specialists.

Confirm who will be opening the games (usually the superintendant) with “Let the games begin!” prior to the kids exiting the field. (It is easiest to contact superintendant’s secretary.  She can also make sure that the board brings their LASD banner.)

Send OC instructions to flag bearers, and torch bearers along with invite to the OC flag/torch rehearsal.  You will need one of your committee members to help with the rehearsal (one of you can walk the flags through their part, while the other takes the torch bearers.  This will keep the rehearsal very brief!)

Update OC script with names of VIPs who have RSVP’d.  Send final copy to host school, and they will distribute to announcers.

Set-up Day (Friday before JO)

Place cones on field for schools and band.  Place one tiny cone (in OC bin) on the front sideline where each school will center their banner.  (see diagram in binder)  

Place a cone on the 50 yard-line just beyond the sideline for the band director.  Place 4 more cones to define the front of the band area.  (This will help them to stay between the 40 yard-lines, so that you have room for all of the schools.)

Optional: Place a cone at the edge of the grass next to the track for each set of torchbearers.  (I wrote “torch” on the cones with an erasable marker, so that it was easy for them to find their starting point.  If you don’t use cones, just make sure you instruct the torchbearers to find a “landmark” during the rehearsal, so that they can find their spot when it’s time for the relay.)

Santa Rita usually sets up the staging area.  Cones are used to define each school’s line-up area, and caution tape is taped along the cones.  There is a blockade at the front of each line with the school sign (in bin) attached.  The balloons will be placed here when they arrive in the AM. Place barricades or hurdles to define band staging area (between school staging area and the track, see diagram).

Day of JO

Confirm that field cones are in place.  Place school signs in staging area (easiest to attach with ties, as barricades will be wet, and tape will not work).

Place balloons when they arrive and pay balloon service.

Assemble flags and place in stands in staging area.  

Get a walkie-talkie from security, and confirm that you can be in contact with the announcers.  (You will not be able to hear announcers when you are in the staging area.) Ask them to do a final “readiness” check with you before they announce “The Junior Olympics 2013 Procession will now begin.”  

Confirm that torch is present, and get it to “torch parent”.

As soon as the band takes the field (about 8:55), bring flags in formation to the edge of the track.  The VIPs and PE specialists will gather behind them.  The first school can begin to pull forward as well.

On the announcer’s cue, begin the procession.

After OC

Make sure microphone is returned to announcer’s booth.

Make sure flags and stands are taken to security tent (or your school tent) and disassembled.

Make sure torch parent has secured torch.

Clear cones & barricades from staging area (place at fence near porta-potties)

Collect signs, and deliver any remaining balloons to school tents.

Return walkie-talkie to security.

Enjoy the rest of the day!