With graduation just around the corner, all the seniors are preparing to leave high school and start their journey as adults out in the world. Whether the end of senior year marked the end of their education or just the beginning, some seniors are choosing to participate in an event that will allow them to go back to where it all began.
Through out the month of May, the Mansfield Independent School District is giving high school seniors the opportunity to walk the halls of their old elementary schools in their graduation caps and gowns one last time. Not only is this a special time for seniors but the current elementary students are encouraged as well. Principal of Elizabeth Smith Elementary, Lea Boiles, is one of the people who is overseeing the event, and as an administrator, she notes the opportunity that the walk holds.
“Our elementary students line the hallways and cheer for the seniors, which honors them, but it also allows our elementary students to see what they can accomplish in the future. We also take the opportunity for the seniors to meet with our 4th graders and talk where they are going to college or after graduation plans, as well as tips for success in high school,” Boiles said.
While this occasion is completely optional, various seniors are seizing this chance to walk down the hallways of their old schools and look back on the memories and how far they’ve come. In the eyes of these students, elementary was where they started a new chapter of their life and to go back where it all began is bitter sweet as they have a chance to end the chapter the same place they began it. Senior Aaron Nguyen, who still stayed connected to his elementary school, Anna May Dalton, throughout his high school years, remembers what a special place the school held in his life and why he wants to participate in the walk.
“I’m doing the walk because my life started right there at Anna May Daulton. I’ve done so much for that school, even playing in the Lake Ridge band there on Veteran’s Day. It holds many memories for me and as I move on to the next chapter of my life, it’ll be nice to visit a place that made me who I am today. It’ll be an amazing experience for me seeing the familiar faces of teachers, staff, and even some of the little ones,” Nguyen said.
The walk’s main purpose is to allow one last time to walk the hallways of the elementary school and showcase how far these seniors have gotten and how much they’ve progressed. Yet for numerous seniors, it’s a lot deeper than that. Senior, Casey Pagan is looking forward to the walk, and ready for all the nostalgia and memories that will come back.
“Elizabeth Smith was where my first memories in Texas were; I went straight into kindergarten after moving here, and I had a lot of great times at that school. It’ll be really cool to see how everything has changed or if any teachers will recognize me. I think walking those halls will be like a final goodbye,” Pagan said.
Parading through the halls, sporting their graduation attire, surrounded by walls lined with children will illustrate the changes of the new adults and the potential of the kids who have yet to enter middle school. The parallel between the beginning to a chapter and the closing of one will be apparent at this event, and everyone participating will be a part of demonstrating that.