At 9 a.m. Monday, members of Richmond Hill High School’s Class of 2016 got up from their desks and left en masse.
No, it wasn’t a protest, and it wasn’t senior skip day. They were taking part in the school’s first ever “senior walk.” Dressed in caps and gowns, they loaded buses to the feeder school of their choice, where they were met with cheers, high-fives and the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” coming over the speakers.
Penny Williams, a math teacher at RHHS, said she had heard about other schools around the country doing the same thing.
“It’s a recognition of the seniors and encouragement for the younger students,” she said. “It’s going back to our roots to celebrate our accomplishments.”
Several buses were lined up at the high school to take seniors to various feeder schools, allowing them to see younger siblings or revisit a school they attended.
Logan Maxwell was part of the group that walked through Richmond Hill Primary, Richmond Hill Elementary and Carver Elementary schools.
“It was a strange feeling,” he said. “I haven’t been back since I was a student.”
Maxwell called it a “Through Back Monday,” a riff on the social media trend of “Throwback Thursday.”
Dawn Smith said she teared up walking through Carver and enjoyed getting congratulatory cards from the students.
“The kids were so excited,” she said. “Great experience.”
Katherine Kocher said she became emotional when she saw one of her old teachers.
“It was an overwhelming experience,” she said. “I hope this tradition continues.”
Seniors who were in Richmond Hill as eighth-graders also received letters they wrote that year to their “future selves.”
Isaiah Hill said he enjoyed seeing his middle school teachers and reading the letter.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “Friends who I said would still be my friends still are. And I said I would start dunking my sophomore year, and that came true.”