Class of '18 takes Senior Walk

Shawn Hardy
Dustin Shaffer, a member of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2018, slaps five with kindergartners at the primary school during Wednesday's Senior Walk. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT.

Members of the Greencastle-Antrim High School Class of 2018 walked through their past and gave younger students across the district a glimpse of their future during the second annual Senior Walk Wednesday morning.

Introduced last year, the walk takes the seniors from the high school through the primary, elementary and middle schools before returning to G-AHS.

Waiting for activities to begin Kristina Newlin was excited about "looking back to where it all started. I haven't been there in a while."

Elizabeth Knight wanted "to see their faces and, oh my gosh, they're gonna be here sooner than they think."

Ian Starr said he would be looking for his younger brothers, Iban, at the middle school and in Ryder, at the elementary school, and Katie Moats wanted to see her old teachers.

Dr. Ed Rife, high school principal, covered practicalities of rehearsals for Saturday's commencement ceremony, and encouraged the seniors "to keep thinking positive thoughts ... the goal is to have the ceremony outside."

Commencement is for families and others who have supported the students through the years, but "today is really about you guys," Rife said.

Dr. Kendra Trail, superintendent, told the students how proud she is of them and their classy attitude and perseverance.

Acknowledging a threat that prompted the canceling of the Cumberland Life Festival and other outdoor activities Tuesday, Trail told the seniors there would be a police presence during their walk because "we want to make sure you're safe." There were Pennsylvania State Police troopers outside each school, Greencastle Police Chief John Phillippy was on hand and Will Confer, school police officer, walked with the seniors.

After donning their caps and gowns, the group set off from the back of the high school to the primary school, where they were greet by cheering youngsters, many with hands out to slap five. Kindergartners rang bells and gave them cards with Dr. Seuss' "Oh, the Places You'll Go!"

Senior Emma Zimmerman had tears in her eyes after her mother, Heather Zimmerman, a kindergarten aide, gave her a bouquet of flowers.

Then it was on to the elementary school, where Levi Witmer, a fifth-grader, held a handmade sign saying, "Hi Noah" for his brother, a soon-to-be graduate.

The chant "Senior Walk, you guys rock" echoed in the elementary hallway, where some students added the sound of maracas, rainsticks and other instruments.

Signs were the order of the day at the middle school and signs and bubbles were on tap at the high school, with cheers welcoming the seniors at every turn.

The walk ended in the gym for a new tradition — a group photo — and seniors capped their morning with a visit from a Kona Ice truck.

There are 211 members in the Class of 2018 and commencement will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 2, weather-permitting on Kaley Field.