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Graduating seniors go back to their elementary and middle schools for a victory lap

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - A Barlow senior just finished her grad walk through West Orient Middle School on Thursday, June 6. Graduating seniors from Gresham-Barlow School District high schools proudly strode through their old elementary and middle schools in "grad walks" last week, both to celebrate their achievements and show the younger kids what they can accomplish just a few years hence.

"The grad walks were such a fun, special thing that I am very grateful I was able to be a part of this year with the graduating class of 2019," Barlow High School's Nicolina Williams said in an email after her walks.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Barlow seniors line up in front of West Orient Middle School in anticipation of their victory grad walk. The younger students in the schools lined the halls, cheered, held up signs and high-fived the graduates. Graduates shrieked and smiled, hugging former teachers and younger siblings and stole a few glances into former classrooms.

"It was very bittersweet getting to see the faces of young students in the hallways at the schools, but exciting to know that it was an inspirational and motivational thing for them to see. I hope that we were able to influence these young students today and show encouragement towards their journey through the rest of their education," said Williams, who attended West Gresham Elementary School and Dexter McCarty Middle School.

West Orient Middle School Principal Elise Catanese said the Barlow seniors march through the halls "shows the middle school students what it's like (to succeed). It's especially important for those kids that struggle a little."

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Some seniors hugged and thanked their former teachers during their grad walks. The Gresham High School graduating seniors hit five schools and the Barlow Bruins strode through six schools on Thursday, June 6. Springwater Trail High School walked the halls of Hogan Cedars Elementary School on Tuesday, June 4.

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Graduates were all smiles as the middle school students celebrated them. Hogan Cedars Principal Elaine Luckenbaugh said the walks "inspire our students to see what can be accomplished."

Bruce Schmidt, principal of Barlow High School, said there were "cheers, tears, hugs and complete excitement" from the graduating seniors. "They can see how far they've come," he said.

Williams added, "I had an absolutely wonderful time, and getting to visit the schools and see familiar faces as well as spend time with my friends made for an extremely memorable last day of high school."

PMG PHOTO: TERESA CARSON - Oh, the places theyll go!

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