Gresham, Barlow seniors parade at middle schools in caps and gowns, inspire younger students

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOLS - Proud Gresham High School Gopher graduates parade through Clear Creek Middle School to cheers and high fives from the middle school students. 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.

OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Tommie Mitchell, left, and Andre Johnson both attended Dexter McCarty Middle School and were part of the parade of graduating Gophers from Gresham High through their old school on Tuesday, June 5.  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.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOLS - Graduating seniors from Barlow High School enter West Orient Middle School under celebratory streamers for their grad walk. 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." OUTLOOK PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Hopefully Dexter McCarty Middle School students will be inspired to graduate after watching the big kids from Gresham High walk through the school in their caps and gowns.

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