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Grade school to graduates

Students in the senior class at Russellville High School will soon toss their tasseled mortarboards, claim their diplomas and take one more step toward adulthood. But Monday, these students took a temporary step back to revisit days gone by.

RHS seniors experienced the inaugural instance of what many hope will become a lasting tradition: Senior Walk.

“It was a huge success for all who were involved. I feel as if it was an inspiration for the younger students and nostalgic for the seniors,” said RHS teacher Susan DeArman, who coordinated the event. DeArman got the idea after seeing a video on social media that showed another school doing a similar event.

Seniors got a kick out of seeing the elementary students’ excitement.

RHS seniors, including Morgan George (front), took some time Monday to participate in what is set to become the newest Golden Tiger tradition – Senior Walk. The soon-to-be graduates paraded through Russellville Middle, Russellville Elementary and West Elementary schools for a nostalgic walk down memory lane and to encourage younger students to aim to achieve.
RHS seniors, including Morgan George (front), took some time Monday to participate in what is set to become the newest Golden Tiger tradition – Senior Walk. The soon-to-be graduates paraded through Russellville Middle, Russellville Elementary and West Elementary schools for a nostalgic walk down memory lane and to encourage younger students to aim to achieve.

“They were giving us high fives and chanting ‘Let’s go seniors, let’s go!’” said Shannea Flanagan. “The elementary school even made signs for us. It was a bittersweet experience because you realize all the memories that you’ve made and how much you’ve grown throughout the years and what you’ll be leaving behind, but you also see how much of an inspiration you are to the younger kids and it inspires you to be an example to those kids in everything you do after you graduate.”

DeArman said she got positive feedback from students on the event.

“As we walked, many of the seniors told me they thought they might cry,” she said. “They were able to see some of their former teachers along the way, and they stopped long enough to give hugs and take selfies. Many of them have come to me afterward to thank me and tell me that it was so much fun.”

WES Principal Deanna Hollimon said she thought the Senior Walk was a great idea. It was particularly meaningful for her because some of the students were in the last first-grade class she taught before moving into a different area of education.

“I think it just brings the seniors back to where it all started,” she said. And for the current elementary school students, “It gives them an opportunity to see where they are going,” she said. Hollimon said she thought it was also moving for the teachers.

DeArman said they hope to make the Senior Walk an annual event.

Flanagan will remember it as “just a really great experience.”

“Our senior class got to go back in time and see all the stages that we’ve experienced throughout our school years,” she said. “I’m really glad I got to participate in the first Senior Walk we’ve ever had, and I hope the upcoming classes enjoy the walk as much as I did.”

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