Graduation time has the power to stir up a wide range of emotions, and this year was certainly no exception for our seniors right here at SHS. But what, exactly, might be bouncing around in their twelfth-grade minds, you may ask?
Some may be thinking about their next chapter in life, whether it may be the military, developing a trade, taking a gap year, or heading off to college to continue their educational journey. Others may reflect upon the people who helped them arrive at where they are today. In addition, seniors may ruminate over the support from family and friends over the years; the good times and the bad. But nothing makes them think more about their younger years than the annual Senior Walk.
What is the Senior Walk? For most of the senior class, it is a much-anticipated opportunity where seniors can return to their elementary school to walk the halls, reminisce with teachers from their elementary years, and interact with the current elementary students. Some seniors see their younger siblings, while others may get to say hello to younger neighbors.
For the seniors who moved into the district after their elementary years, they can choose to tag along with a peer and pick any elementary school to visit. Whether they choose to visit Maple Dale, Blue Ash, Symmes, or Montgomery Elementary, they too feel the excitement that permeates the walkways, and memories of their own elementary experiences surely flood their minds.
This year, the Senior Walk was slightly different than in past years due to COVID-19 precautions. However, the fact that it was held outside did not impede the excitement of teachers upon seeing their former students, the gaze of the current elementary students who were in awe that big kids were at their school, and definitely did not diminish the feeling of pride as seniors pondered all that they have accomplished.
Upon asking a few seniors what their favorite part of the walk was, senior Ally Flege said, “I loved seeing the old teachers and staff members, it was funny listening to them guess who we were since we’ve changed so much throughout high school. I also loved when we were on the bus on the way to the walk, and we reminisced about the old times at Maple Dale.”
Senior Sara Barnhorst added that “It was so fun seeing all the old yearbook pictures, and I loved giving high fives to all the elementary kids. It reminded me of what times were like when I was in elementary school.”
“The best part was seeing all of the elementary kids welcoming and greeting all of us. Seeing them reading off the signs that they made for us was pretty cool too,” said senior Nathan Kissela.
“At first I was a little iffy about it, with covid and not being able to enjoy what usually goes down at this event. My favorite part of the senior walk was playing kickball and baseball with the kids, even just hanging out with the teachers. It was an amazing experience. I got to see so many teachers that I made so many memories with. It’s very funny to think about the lessons they taught me. Going to my elementary school was so much fun and I love the traditions that Sycamore has created. Those teachers have made such a great impact on my life that I will never forget. This year has been the best year. I’m going to miss Sycamore,” said senior Ruben Schraffenberger.
Many staff members also treasure the experience, with Sycamore staff member Ashley Friend saying, “As a first-timer at Maple Dale’s senior walk, the energy was electric! You could feel the sense of community from the seniors, current kids, and of course, the teachers. I was super impressed with how the seniors took the time to interact with my third graders since they truly look up to them. My class had a blast cheering them on, taking pictures, and being part of such a special Sycamore tradition.”
“My favorite part about the Senior Walk is to see the students’ smiling faces! For most students, I truly haven’t seen them for over 7 years. To see them come back excited to be back and reminisce about experiences we’ve shared is unforgettable. The Senior Walk is a special day for teachers because often we remember the student that struggled, or the one that just needed an extra bit of support, or even the one that excelled greatly. When they return they have experienced over 7 years of success and growth. Being able to be a small part of that transformation is priceless! This event is truly special and one of my favorite days of the year!” said Sycamore staff member Cheryl Cooks.
This year has been a crazy year! Even with COVID-19 in the way, Sycamore still finds a way to make everything enjoyable for each and every one of the seniors.