By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Graduating seniors revisit grade schools

Marcus Larson / News-Register##Grandhaven Elementary students give high-fives to McMinnville High School graduates as they pass through the halls of their former school.
Marcus Larson / News-Register##Grandhaven Elementary students give high-fives to McMinnville High School graduates as they pass through the halls of their former school.
Marcus Larson / News-Register##Retired Grandhaven teacher Mark Schoenbein chats with MHS seniors Gabriella Nava, left, and Mya Clover-Owens, his former students.
Marcus Larson / News-Register##Retired Grandhaven teacher Mark Schoenbein chats with MHS seniors Gabriella Nava, left, and Mya Clover-Owens, his former students.

Dressed in bright red robes, McMinnville High School’s graduating seniors paraded through the halls of their old elementary schools Thursday.

The seniors, who will graduate tonight, beamed as they high-fived students and hugged former teachers.

“I can’t believe you’re so TALL!” a Grandhaven teacher exclaimed as she stood on tip-toe to hug a boy she hadn’t seen in years.

Other teachers — including some retirees who returned for the event — congratulated former students on their academic and athletic achievements. Elementary students cheered and waved signs saying “Way to go, graduates!” and “Congratulations, Class of 2016!”

The parade of graduates has become a tradition. Since the event started in 2013, seniors have been bused to their old schools following an awards assembly on the day prior to commencement.

The visit is meant to inspire elementary students at the six schools in addition to being nostalgic for the seniors.

At Grandhaven, it was both.

Graduates such as Marika Huffer, Alexis Chavez and Ruben Oliveros marveled at how small the 600-student school had become since they were there.

“Back then it took a year to get down the halls,” Chavez recalled. Yet, Oliveros said, “It feels like yesterday we were in third grade.”

Even with the seeming size difference, Huffer said, “It brings back good memories.”

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