To the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance Marches" played by the Dexter McCarty Middle School band, Gresham High School's graduating seniors paraded through the middle school halls in their caps and gowns Tuesday to high fives and cheers from the middle school students.
Graduating students from Gresham and Barlow high schools proudly walked though all the district's middle schools wearing full graduation regalia in what many hope will become a yearly tradition. "I think it is an excellent idea. It will inspire the youth that are here to to graduate," said Gresham-Barlow School Board member Sharon Garner, who was at McCarty for the event. "They are visualizing the end goal."
The graduates agree.
Tommie Mitchell, who like many of the Gresham seniors attended Dexter McCarty, said "I hope it will inspire kids to graduate ... It was fun going back to my old school."
The Gresham grads also paraded through Clear Creek Middle School and Barlow grads toured Deep Creek-Damascus K-8 School, West Orient and Gordon Russell middle schools. Springwater Trial High School did not participate in the grad walks this first year.
The grad walk was special for Dexter McCarty staff too. Many of the graduating seniors called out to and hugged their former teachers. Many staff members were teary as they watched their grown-up former charges.
"Its a wonderful opportunity for our students to get that picture in their heads of what success looks like," said Dexter McCarty Principal John George. "And it's so great to see our former students so full of joy and promise."