VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - Vancleave High School started a new tradition this year in hopes of inspiring younger students to graduate. On Monday, the seniors donned their caps and gowns and went back to grade school for their first "Senior Walk".
They arrived at Vancleave Middle School, looking sharp in their bright blue caps and gowns. Inside, excited children lined the hallways, greeting the Vancleave High seniors with high-fives and warm hugs.
"They are amazing," said Vancleave Middle School sixth grader Patricia Morgan.
For members of the class of 2016, returning to their old school felt like a stroll down memory lane.
"I'm just remembering back when I here. It was crazy. I remember all the teachers. They were so fun and everything," said Vancleave High Senior Brendon Davis.
"I can just remember some of them as a fifth grader, just encouraging them you can make it, you can do it. And now getting to see that they actually set a goal and reach their goal," said Vancleave Middle School Teacher Lesley Fairley.
The Senior Walk gave the soon-to-be graduates a chance to celebrate their achievements, but also to inspire the younger students.
"It was kind of cool to see all the little kids just look up to you, and to be able to make a difference and be able to show them that you still care," said Vancleave High Senior Brooke McMillan.
"I remember when I was a little kid looking up to older people. I was like, 'Oh my goodness, they're so smart.' I want to be there and now I'm here. I'm like man, I just want to put that impact on them too," said Brendon.
And seeing the seniors, many wearing their honor chords, gave the little ones motivation that they too can one day walk down the halls and across the stage.
"I was like, I wish I could be like them one day and I was just happy for them," said Vancleave Middle School sixth grader Brayden Fore.
"I want to be valedictorian and best in my class and I want to graduate and go to college. I want to be just like them," said Patricia.
The Vancleave High seniors also walked the halls of Vancleave Lower and Upper Elementary schools, as well as the high school. Their graduation ceremony is this Thursday.