Emotions run high during Pelham Parade of Graduates

Published 2:50 pm Thursday, April 20, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

PELHAM – Walking down the long hallways of Pelham Oaks and Pelham Ridge elementary schools, there were many smiles and tears during Pelham’s Parade of Graduates on April 18.

Pelham’s class of 2023 participated in the annual tradition by walking the halls of their old schools, while engaging with former teachers and current students along the way.

As these soon-to-be graduates walked down the long hallway of each elementary school, they were met with wide-eyed elementary aged children who passed them drawings, cards, paintings and offered them high fives.

Some of the students graduating tearfully embraced their previous teachers, overwhelmed by this full circle moment.

Second Grade Teacher Erin Whidden was one of those experiencing the emotions as she embraced a student she taught in kindergarten.

Whidden has been teaching for 18 years and said moments like these never cease to be amazing. She was taught English as a Second Language to one of her students, Claudia, and was able to see her finally walk the hallways as a graduate.

“It means that it worked,” Whidden said. “We did it, and they did it. Something about their experience here stuck with them, so that they finished. Finally, they are walking through the hallway.”

Second grade Pelham Oaks Elementary student Sam Pitts said it was a neat experience because one day, he and his sister will get to do the same and this serves as an inspiration.

“My sister will eventually walk in it,” Pitts said. “She is in fifth grade, and she will graduate from here.”

Pitts also talked about how much he enjoys being a student at Pelham Oaks because of moments like this.

“Yeah, it is very fun,” Pitts said.

Alongside his classmates and peers, Pitts waved his hand drawn pictures for the graduates as they passed by, creating a special moment.

As the graduates roamed the halls they used to walk as children, the emotions were evident, marking a new era for many.