W.VA. Seniors Return To Elementary Schools Before Graduation

WAYNE, W.Va. (AP) — High school seniors who are about to graduate experienced a blast from the past as they walked the halls of the elementary schools they once attended.

Wayne High School seniors visited East Lynn, Lavalette and Wayne elementary schools on May 16 and were welcomed by students there with cheers, signs and high-fives for making it through high school and getting ready to graduate in the coming weeks.

Wayne High Principal Sara Stapleton said the yearly event is a great opportunity for the older students to see how far they have come in their educational journey so far.

“We bring our seniors back to let them see their elementary school and their teachers and have the experience of seeing where they started,” Stapleton said.

Stapleton said the tradition of bringing the graduating seniors to the elementary schools that feed into Wayne High began about six years ago. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the elementary students have not seen the seniors walk through the schools since May 2019.

Wayne Elementary School Principal Melissa Maynard said she was excited to bring the tradition back.

Maynard said having seniors walk through the halls in their caps and gowns lets young students get excited about staying in school and graduating.

“The graduating class, they like to visit the elementary schools that are the feeder schools into Wayne High School and just go visit, do a senior walk as an inspiration for the young students to give them something to look forward to,” she said.

“On the elementary side, the students enjoy it so much. The signs, the cheering — they love it all.”

Maynard said the senior walk-through is also a chance for teachers to see their former students before they graduate.

Wayne High senior Keeley Holland said seeing the students at each elementary school was great, but also made her think of her younger years and of those who helped her along the way.

“I loved it, it was great. It was a tear-jerker, too,” she said. “Growing up kind of makes you miss not having any responsibilities and stuff. I don’t know, you’re seeing all the teachers that influenced your life and now you’re moving on to help influence others. It’s just bittersweet.”