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    By Todd Martin

    Validation met motivation when 100 Shoemaker High School seniors dressed in cap and gown walked through school hallways Wednesday to the cheers of younger students.

    Eleven days before graduation, the seniors didn’t know what to expect when they were invited to walk through three elementary schools and two middle schools, but it wasn’t this kind of adulation.

    “It feels like we’re rock stars,” said senior Rachel Gonzalez after walking through Willow Springs and Haynes elementary schools with children lining the hallways holding signs of congratulations and cheering loudly.

    “It feels good to know we are role models,” she said. “It’s so great, really overwhelming.”

    For the second year, Shoemaker Assistant Principal Takeisha Albertie invited the seniors in good academic standing to participate in the walk at the schools that feed into Shoemaker High School.

    “We want to reach out to the feeder campuses and have communications with them and we want to let those students know what is expected of them,” Albertie said. “This is something for them to work toward.”

    They made stops at Willow Springs, Haynes and Clear Creek elementary schools and Live Oak Ridge and Palo Alto middle schools.

    “For the seniors, it’s a chance to reflect on where they came from,” the assistant principal said. “We want to celebrate their accomplishment.”

    Children at the elementary schools held signs of congratulations. Some children offered hand-written cards to the older students. Everywhere, there was congratulatory cheering.

    “It’s emotional to see the little kids cheer us on,” said Patricia Lane, the class valedictorian leading her classmates in each walk-through. “I didn’t expect the chants and the signs. I’m excited.”

    “It’s really great, emotional,” said senior Jennyfer Arriaza. “They will remember this.”

    She said it’s an unreal feeling to be so close to graduation and walking through elementary schools made it even more surreal.

    “Elementary school seems so long ago,” Arriaza said. “It’s amazing so much time has passed.”

    “I hope,” said Lane, “that they realize they can get to this place, too.”

    In Killeen ISD, Friday, May 26 is the last day of school. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled the following weekend at the Bell County Expo Center.

    Killeen High School graduates at 3 p.m. and Ellison High School at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 27. Harker Heights High School graduates at 2 p.m. and Shoemaker High School at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 28.

    All graduation ceremonies are broadcast live on KISD-TV Channel 17 and online through the KISD website at http://www.gradcast.org.

    May 17, 2017

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