More than 550 Conway High School seniors went back to their elementary and middle schools one last time before they graduate this May.
This is the second year the district held the senior walk where students dress in their blue caps and gowns to walk the halls of their former schools.
CHS Principal Jason Lawrence previously told the Log Cabin Democrat that they had seen others schools come up with the idea and decided to give it a try, a venture many jumped on.
The morning also started with a senior breakfast for students.
More than 30 made their way to Ida Burns Elementary where students lined the halls and teachers waited to hug students they hadn’t seen in years.
“Getting to see my previous students today was encouraging and a great reminder of why I was called to teach,” third grade teacher Tiffany Miller said. “I’m so proud of them for getting their education and look forward to seeing what their futures hold. I’ll always be one of their biggest fans.”
Miller was able to take photos with seven returning students, including Madilynne Baker.
“Seeing all my friends that I grew up with was super special,” the senior said. “Conway High is a huge school and I barely see them all. Seeing and hugging all of my teachers was so awesome. They were all so amazing and special to me and being able to go back was something I’ll always remember.”
Baker’s mother, Jessica, was also able to attend the event with her daughter and carried several rose bouquets for her daughter to pass out to Ida Burns educators.
“Ida Burns holds a very special place in my heart,” Jessica said.
She said to see Madie and all her classmates together again as they were in elementary brought back memories.
“In my mind, they should all still be those sweet innocent little faces you remember in pictures that you took at school awards assemblies or field trips,” Jessica said. “I loved seeing all her teachers cry for joy and the memories while hugging each other so tightly.”
Ida Burns Principal Cindy Thacker said the senior walk is the highlight of the school year for her.
Thacker said while she may not be the only one, she’s at least one of the few who were in the original Ida Burns building with the group of seniors started as kindergarteners so being able to see them come back was exciting.
This is also Thacker’s last year — she’s been in education for 40 years — so this walk was extra special for her.
Assistant principal Tami Burcham said they always ask their kids what their job is and every child can say their job is to get an education and learn.
When they spoke with the students about the senior walk during the morning broadcast, she said, they talked about celebrating this group of seniors who did their job and Thacker mentioned the event also was a way to celebrate the future of the students at Ida Burns too; how one day if they do their job they will be graduating and getting that diploma too
“I thought that was really neat so that these kids could make it relatable to not just [see] these strangers that they don’t know, it’s [not] just hoopla for them but to think ‘ok, this has a purpose,’” Burcham said.
Thatcher said the walk served two purposes: to celebrate those graduating seniors and to let their Ida Burns students know that that was their future and to encourage them to do it.