Tuesday marked the start of a new tradition for Grayson County High School seniors. Donned in their caps and gowns, the Class of 2016 proudly walked the halls of their past elementary schools as elementary students cheered them on, giving high fives and holding up encouraging signs along the hallways.
“The point of it was to give those elementary students something to aspire to, that they can graduate,” said Todd Johnston, GCHS principal.
The walk was first brought to the attention of Johnston when GCHS assistant principal Stacy Decker saw the idea on Facebook.
“Ms. Decker came to me and said we should do this and I said, ‘Okay,’” Johnston said.
At first the high school planned to only have seniors walk through Lawler as a test run, however once other principals heard about the plan, they wanted the seniors to walk through their schools too.
The seniors were treated to donuts for breakfast and a cookout with grilled burgers and chicken for lunch. T-shirts were given to the college or career-ready students. Approximately 200 students are considered college or career-ready in the Class of 2016.
“The kids loved it,” Johnston said.
Students enjoyed seeing past teachers, the good food, and getting out of school.
“It was great, it gave us an opportunity to inspire young kids to graduate,” said senior Leeann Phelps.
With the success of this graduate walk, GCHS is hoping to continue this new tradition over the years.
“It’s something we hope to continue for a long time. It’s something we want to build on,” Johnston said.
Next year GCHS is planning on identifying the elementary school each senior went to, so they could be presented differently. As for this graduating class, Johnston only has high praise for these seniors.
“They’re phenomenal. The first year I was principal here they were freshman. So we’ve grown together. They’re a special group,” Johnston said.