Houlton grads return to roots with march at elementary schools

7 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — A new tradition was born in Houlton Monday as members of the senior class donned their caps and gowns for a trip down memory lane.

The seniors returned to their roots for a processional march through the halls of Houlton Elementary and Houlton Southside schools. The walk was a chance for the seniors to have one last stroll down memory lane, to also thank teachers who helped them along the way and to inspire the younger students.

The concept is not new, according to Houlton Middle-High School Principal  Marty Bouchard.

“Graduation walks are taking place at elementary schools across the country,” Bouchard said. “We felt like this would be a great thing to take place here in RSU 29. Since the end of the year schedule was all finalized and in place before we saw the grad walk idea we were unsure if we would be able to find the time to do one here in Houlton.”

At Houlton Southside School, students lined the hallways outside their classrooms, with many holding signs of congratulations and encouragement for the seniors. High fives and hugs also were plentiful.

“It was amazing,” said senior Olivia White. “Not only for us, but for the younger children as well. I know so many of them through dance, helping with Girl Scouts, and having the opportunity to help in Mrs. McMann’s room this year. They were all so proud of us and it showed in their faces when they recognized someone marching.”

“We thought about doing this last year, but by the time it came to our attention it was too late,” Houlton Southside School Principal Cindy Peterson said. “This is definitely a motivator for our kids to see the end product of their hard work. It gives staff some closure too.”

“It was fantastic to see the excitement and enthusiasm from the younger students and the seniors,” Bouchard added. “The elementary kids were able to witness our seniors, in their gowns, march through the very schools where their educational journey began over a decade ago. It gave them a chance to see a graduate, cheer them on and have inspiration that hard work and perseverance will pay off in the future.”