By Carla O’Day
During a whirlwind tour Friday, Wooster High School’s graduating seniors visited Vaughn Middle School and several area elementary schools in their caps and gowns.
There were no speeches from the graduating class of 347 students, but the goal was clear: to encourage younger students to stay in school, earn their diplomas, and achieve their academic goals.
“I think this will be me in a few years…I know it for sure,” said Vaughn eighth grader Vivian Ramirez Gutierrez. “We’re all so proud of them.”
During the Wooster students’ 30-minute visit to Vaughn, the seventh and eighth graders stood in line with their assigned classes as the graduating seniors weaved through, giving high fives to the younger students and their teachers.
Vaughn principal Victoria Roybal said this was the first year for such event.
“We thought it would be a great opportunity for the students to see themselves in four or five years,” Roybal said.
Vaughn eighth grader Nathan Herr said such an event should be done every year and that seeing the older students in their graduation regalia will motivate his classmates.
“They see people who accomplished their goals and it will want to make them follow,” Herr said.
Scott Grange, Wooster dean of intervention and testing, said the seniors were also going to visit Corbett, Dodson, Echo Loder, Hidden Valley and Veterans Memorial elementary schools. All are feeder schools into Vaughn and Wooster.
The seniors were especially excited about their trip to Vaughn. Some even expressed disappointment upon learning a few teachers there had retired, Grange said.
“A few said they couldn’t wait to let the younger students know where they were headed,” Grange said. “Some couldn’t wait to see their former teachers and thank them; and a lot of teachers were excited to see their former students and congratulate them on their success.”
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Carla has an undergraduate degree in journalism and more than 10 years experience as a daily newspaper reporter. She grew up in Jacksonville, Fla., moved to the Reno area in 2002 and wrote for the Reno Gazette-Journal for 8 years, covering a variety of topics. Prior to that, she covered local government in Fort Pierce, Fla.