Eight schools and one college from the city signed up to take part in the heats of the annual Rock Challenge event at the Guildhall.
It would mark the start of the fifth annual tour of the competition, which was first launched in Australia and brought to the UK by Hampshire police in 1996.
Scores of children from each school would perform an eight-minute routine set to contemporary music with a social message.
Each would sign a pledge to remain free of drugs and alcohol during the rehearsal and performance period.
The 10 teams from Portsmouth would compete with others from the Isle of Wight and the south in two heats at the Guildhall.
Priory School in Southsea entered for the first time.
The winners would go forward to the following year’s southern grand final, which would also be held at the Guildhall.
Rock Challenge was run in the UK by the Be Your Best Foundation, and aimed to provide youngsters with a drug-free high.