Walk this way
Interlachen High School’s class of 2016 walked in their caps and gowns the halls of local elementary and middle schools Thursday morning, aiming to appeal to the emotions of younger students, but it was the high school seniors who walked away with tears in their eyes.
The 59 soon-to-be graduates traveled by bus to Ochwilla Elementary, Melrose Elementary, Interlachen Elementary and C.H. Price Middle schools Thursday morning, hoping to inspire graduation aspirations in young children during the school’s first graduate tour.
“Little kids always look up to bigger kids,” said Brandon Hornsby, an Interlachen High senior. “It will make them want to graduate.”
Principal Montez Wynn, who remembered some of the students from her days at Melrose, greeted the seniors at Ochwilla.
“It was really neat to see them and congratulate them,” she said.
The elementary students cheered as the seniors paraded through Ochwilla’s outdoor hallways, some high-fiving the younger students as they approached each class.
“I’m happy to see them graduating,” said 10-year-old Alyssa Matthews. “I want to be in that place, high-fiving fourth-graders before graduation.”
Wynn said the event was inspirational and motivational for her elementary-age students.
“There might be children who never saw anyone in a cap and gown before,” she said.
Alyssa said she was applauding the seniors for their accomplishments, as she and her classmates acknowledged a graduate must have “a lot of determination, concentration and perseverance.”
Interlachen High senior Carly Cassidy said she hopes the event is one the elementary students will remember as they push toward graduation.
“We all get to that point where you don’t think you’re going to graduate, you just have to keep pushing,” she said.
As the seniors turned the corner to Ochwilla’s last hallway, “Pomp and Circumstance” played over the intercom.
Some students were seen wiping tears from their eyes and walking in step as the music played. One boy said, “I feel so proud right now.”
“It was a terrific idea,” Interlachen High Principal Thomas Bolling said. “Obviously, these students feel a sense of accomplishment and pride.”
Interlachen High’s graduation ceremony is 8 p.m. May 31 at Thompson-Baker Stadium.