Sixty Havelock High School seniors took a victory lap down through lines of cheering students at Gurganus Elementary School as part of a Graduation Walk.
The march was noisy and brief and served as a prelude to the real thing when more than 200 students are expected to walk across the stage during commencement Saturday morning at Havelock High.
The elementary students at the school were brought into the hallways where they waited with large, hand-made signs of encouragement, for the senior students to arrive. The soon-to-be graduates arrived in a bus, straightened their caps and gowns and then went inside for the celebration.
With music booming from a portable but quite adequate sound system, the graduates then marched down the halls as the elementary students were encouraged to shout and cheer them on, many holding out their hands for high-fives with the graduates as they marched past.
Then, having made their rounds, it was over and quickly as it had started. The high schoolers climbed back into their bus and rode off to Havelock Middle School where a repeat performance was planned.
The Senior Graduate Walk parade is not a new program in Craven County Schools, but it was a first for the students of W.J. Gurganus Elementary.
The purpose is to let students celebrate the seniors for their accomplishments while providing an opportunity for younger students to realize that graduation will come to them, as well, if they stick to it.
“It’s just a way for our kids to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” as Gurganus principal Debra Hurst put it.
While the children cheered and made plenty of noise, at least one described the parade simply as “kind of weird.”
“All of them were, like, ‘Put on your serious face now,’” Brooklyn Zeigler, a fifth-grader at Gurganus said.
Kayla Brashear, whose senior sister Alyssa was among the marchers, said that “It was fun.”