Mankato graduates walk at their former elementary schools

Published: May. 28, 2021 at 6:30 PM CDT|Updated: May. 28, 2021 at 8:24 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Members of the 2021 graduating class at Mankato East and West high schools paid a visit to their former elementary schools to show their appreciation for where they came from.

At Washington Elementary School, elementary students lined the sidewalks to congratulate the graduates.

“Before they were us, basically,” fifth-grader Darrius Bracken said. “At Washington, in fifth grade. Now we get to see them and one day that will be us.”

The graduates had a chance to look back at where they started at Washington and all the memories they made there.

John Sadaka, a graduate of Mankato East High School, plays kickball with elementary students...
John Sadaka, a graduate of Mankato East High School, plays kickball with elementary students while wearing his cap and gown after graduates paraded for students at Washington Elementary students, Friday, May 28, 2021 in Mankato, Minn.(KEYC)

“It kind of put in perspective that everything is going to happen, like you are going to move on,” graduate Tufah Duhir said. “I am done with high school, college is going to be done and then probably going to start a job. Enjoy the moment while you’re in it.”

The day allowed students to reconnect with teachers they have not seen in years. The teachers themselves enjoy this because they get to see how far their former students have come.

“I feel proud, I feel a sense of accomplishment,” kindergarten teacher Angie Davis said. “I get energized when I see them coming in and with the new kids I say look this is going to be you someday.”

The parade did not happen last year due to the pandemic. Students and teachers were happy to see the return of this tradition now that life has begun to look a little more normal.

The teachers know what the students have gone through and are excited to see them graduating through it all.

“The last two years, because of junior year missing out totally in the spring and this whole year, they have really accomplished a lot in that time,” Davis said. “It has been really nice that they have been able to do some of the things that they typically would do.”

Students on the walk couldn’t help but reminisce on their elementary days.

“When we were walking around it kind of brings back a lot of memories,” graduate Jordyn Kenward said. “A lot of stuff happened here.”

The graduates were filled with joy and appreciation for everything they have gone through over the years to get to where they are today.

“I feel grateful. I am happy that COVID-19 has slowed down a decent bit so we could do this and see everyone,” Duhir said. “It’s been nice”

“I am really excited. It is going to be great to have the kids see us graduate and then they are going to graduate and remember this moment,” graduate Tayler DeBill said.

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