Donnan Stoicovy was greeted with hugs Tuesday morning as some State College Area High School students exited a school bus at Park Forest Elementary.
It was a moment the elementary school principal said was touching, but part of something even bigger for her students.
Administrators hope a senior walk will be an annual tradition.
Students from State High participated in what they called a “senior walk.”
The two-day event was a way to promote a positive end-of-year activity that helps connect graduates to younger students.
They dropped by Park Forest, Radio Park, Mount Nittany and Corl Street elementary schools Tuesday, and visited Easterly Parkway, Houserville, Lemont, Gray’s Woods and Ferguson Township elementary schools Monday.
“I love the enthusiasm and how it brings back memories,” senior Rachel Martin said.
She went to Park Forest Elementary from third to fifth grade.
Classmate and fellow Park Forest alum Harley Stuyvesant, who went to the school from kindergarten through fifth grade, also said she was excited to be a part of an event that brought her back to a school that had a positive effect in her life.
It’s really cool seeing old teachers, and that they actually remember you after all these years.
Harley Stuyvesant, State High senior and former Park Forest Elementary student
“It’s really cool seeing old teachers, and that they actually remember you after all these years,” Stuyvesant said.
She even invited Stoicovy to her graduation party.
“I feel just as lucky to have had these students,” Stoicovy said, as she showed off the invitation.
PFE had about 500 students who participated in the senior walk with high schoolers.
About 500 students lined the halls of Park Forest Elementary as the soon-to-be graduates walked with their caps and gowns on through the student tunnel, giving high-fives and fist bumps to the kids, and handing out pencils.
“They’re loving the interaction and seeing the end result of all the years of hard work,” Stoicovy said. “It’s just wonderful to see them come back.”
The event, started this year, was inspired by something similar at a Texas school, a report from State College Area School District said.
District spokesman Chris Rosenblum said administrators hope the senior walk will replace the Snake Run — an annual “romp” by seniors through the high school hallways that sometimes led to vandalism and misbehavior.
That event was banned last year, Rosenblum said.
State High graduation slated for Saturday morning.
State High seniors graduate 11 a.m. Saturday at the Bryce Jordan Center. This year’s graduating class has 542 students.