Submitted by Denair High School
The Denair High School Class of 2019 provided real-life inspiration to their younger peers Thursday morning, donning their purple and white caps and gowns and marching through the Denair Elementary Charter Academy and Denair Middle School campuses.
It was the first step in a daylong series of events, including a mid-morning graduation practice walkthrough, leading up to Friday night’s commencement ceremony. Graduation begins at 7:30 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium.
Thursday’s third annual Grad Walk was the brainchild of high school Principal Kara Backman and middle school Principal Amanda Silva. It was modeled after similar events they saw three years ago at a No Excuses University conference.
NEU is an educational model built around the belief that every child has a right to be prepared for college, starting at the elementary level. Denair schools have embraced that philosophy.
Beneath their robes Thursday morning, the 59 students in the Class of 2019 wore T-shirts from their colleges of choice.
The march to DECA and DMS campuses was intended to be a vivid reminder of the educational journey that all students are on.
“Graduation is the epitome of success and we want to inspire the younger students to have something to look forward to,” Backman explained.
According to DECA Principal Kelly Beard, Grad Walk is a “way to show our Coyote pride and to show our students what they’re working toward.”
As the Class of 2019 students strode across the grass and pavement and hallways at DECA, “Pomp and Circumstance” played over the loudspeakers. The elementary students clapped and cheered. Teachers and parents used cell phones to take photos and video.
The procession culminated on the sidewalk near the DECA gym, when the graduates formed a human tunnel. The younger kids filed through one-by-one, many squealing with delight.
“That was exactly how it’s supposed to be,” said Superintendent Terry Metzger, referring to the smiles and laughter from the DECA students.