ACS parade celebrates graduates, encourages younger students

ALABASTER –Thompson High School’s graduating seniors donned their caps and gowns and walked through the halls of all of the other Alabaster schools during the second annual parade of graduates on Monday, May 15. During the parade, elementary and middle school students chanted, held signs and gave high-fives as the seniors passed by.

Creek View Elementary School Principal Charissa Cole said the parade of graduates gave younger students something to look forward to.

“Our students are excited to see some of their siblings walk through. They get to see what it’s going to be like when they reach the end of the line,” Cole said.

Meadow View Elementary School Principal Rachea Simms said the parade encouraged her students to set goals and stay in school.

“Just by (the seniors) being here, it’s something for them to aspire to. It shows that, by graduating high school, they will be open to so many more opportunities in life,” Simms said.

According to Alabaster City Schools Superintendent Wayne Vickers, the parade of graduates also gave seniors an opportunity to revisit and thank teachers they had in their earlier years.

“Most of our students went through these schools. This is a wonderful opportunity for our high school students to come back to where they came from,” Vickers said. “The graduates like it because they get to see teachers they had throughout the years. For them to walk down these halls in their robes provides inspiration to our students and teachers.”

For THS Principal Wesley Hester, the parade of graduates serves as another way to recognize graduates for their hard work and accomplishments. Hester said ACS and THS administrators originally got the idea last year after seeing online examples from other schools.

“It’s a way for the entire community to celebrate our grads,” Hester said. “We had seen a couple of schools online from other states, and we jumped on the idea.”

Since it started, Cole said the parade has been an emotional event for everyone involved.

“Last year, we didn’t realize how emotional it would be. There were a lot of tears of joy,” Cole said.

THS grads Camryn Anthony and Josie Tapp said it felt good to be able to go back and inspire younger generations and expressed their appreciation for a school system that is so invested in seeing students succeed.

“They still remember our names,” Anthony said. “These kids were more excited than I thought. I feel really supported by our community.”

“Creek View is the best school. If you went here, you don’t forget it,” Tapp said.

MVES second grader Matthew Keahey said he had fun watching all of the seniors walk and hopes to graduate and start on his career “one day soon.”

“We got to see the high school people. I want to work on computers when I graduate,” Matthew said.

To see all photos from the parade, visit Shelbycountyphotos.com.