For most Lake Highlands High School seniors, it’s all over but the shoutin’ – at graduation ceremonies Sunday, June 5th at 8:30 p.m. at Garland’s Curtis Culwell Center. Last week, though, many soon-to-be-graduates returned to the halls of their LH-area elementary schools to encourage grade schoolers to excel academically and envision their future. The year-end event, called Senior Walk, is a tradition at some high schools around the country. LHHS Advanced Placement Social Studies teacher Casey Boland, who organized the event, hopes this is the beginning of a new tradition at LHHS.
“It was so fun,” said Casey Flinn, who will enroll at UT in the fall. “The kids were so excited to see all of us and give us high fives. I even heard a little girl scream, ‘I’m never washing my hand again!’ I did it because Merriman Park was such a great school and I have so many great memories there, and it was an excuse to see some of my favorite teachers one last time. When I was an elementary student, I know that I would have enjoyed seeing all the seniors in their caps and gowns. My message to the little guys would be to enjoy every moment, because it goes by so quickly.”
Future Aggie Laney Norris did her Senior Walk at Scofield Christian School.
“It was great for me, because I do my [teaching] internship at Scofield, so almost every kid we passed has been one of my students. My advice to the kids is that all your hard work is worth it to go to the college of your dreams. I would also say to appreciate Scofield while you’re there, because those were some of the best days of my life.”
White Rock Elementary grad Hannah Miller, preparing to head off to OU, admits she was hesitant.
“At first, when the school mentioned the Senior Walk, I didn’t exactly want to participate. I thought that walking down the hallway complete with cap and gown was a bit much. But once I stepped down the hallway, I had a blast. Kids of all ages were yelling their congratulations and reaching out their hand, hoping for us to reach down and touch it. It was so fun remembering how it was when I was their age and how far I had come. We split up into little groups and talked to some sixth graders. They asked a lot of questions, but one thing we made sure to say was to enjoy their time, because the next thing they know, they will be in our shoes.”
Future Longhorn Lizzie Bonahoom returned to Merriman Park.
“I agreed to do it after talking to Casey Boland. I was kind of reluctant to voluntarily get up early to walk around, but she encouraged me to do it. I always love going back to my elementary school and seeing my old teachers and classrooms, it really makes me appreciate my time there and all the memories I made. The overwhelming message from all of us at the walk to the sixth graders is to take as many Pre-AP classes as they can and learn to manage their time well. The sooner they get used to a heavy workload the sooner they will learn to manage their time efficiently. That alone will prepare them for high school and college.”
“My fourth graders absolutely loved getting to experience the new tradition of a Senior Walk last week,” said Paige Trostel Long, an LHHS grad herself and a teacher of Social Studies and Reading at Stults Road Elementary.” They were able to see seniors from Lake Highlands and Richardson that had been in their same position just a few years ago. They were truly inspired by the Senior Walk and they can’t wait to be seniors and come back to our school to motivate others to graduate and pursue their dreams.”
“The LH Village is vast and diverse, but very real,” explained Boland. “I wanted our graduates to be celebrated in the places and by the people who were there from them from the start. And our littles need to see that graduation is a real goal.”