Graduates Return to Davis Elementary School in Caps and Gowns

More than 12 years ago, their parents helped them pack their book bags, snapped photos and kissed them goodbye on their first day of kindergarten. Now, those students are preparing to take the first step into adulthood as they graduate from high school. Before they turn their tassels, dozens of Lassiter High School graduates in caps and gowns returned to the place where they learned how to read and maybe even how to tie their shoes—Davis Elementary School.

Younger versions of themselves lined the school halls May 23 to cheer for the graduates as they walked the Davis halls one more time. The elementary students held hand-made signs congratulating the graduates, some of whom are their older brothers or sisters. A younger sibling trailed behind the group holding up her own sign to celebrate her sister, who is graduating. An older brother, who is graduating from college, returned to Davis to walk with his little brother, who is graduating from Lassiter. The Lassiter valedictorian, Sarah Nastasi, led the group of graduates, which included her triplet brother and sister.

“It is nice to see all the smiling faces,” said Sarah. “I know a lot of the kids because I coach them for [swimming] summer league. So it is nice to see them.”

Sarah was also happy to see some of her elementary school teachers. One of Sarah’s favorite teachers, Anne Ward, retired four years ago but returned to Davis to see the students she taught so many years ago.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world,” Ward said.

Ward can still recall some of the projects the graduates did in her art class.

“It is great to see these kids grown up,” Ward added. “I remember teaching them as they grew from kindergarten through fifth grade, and it is so nice to come back and see that they really made it to graduating from high school.”

Cindy Hill, who taught music at Davis for 25 years, also stopped by the school to see her young musicians all grown up.

“It is a lot of fun for a teacher to be able to see what they have become, find out where they are going to school and to keep up with future plans,” Hill said.

She described the graduate walkthrough as a reunion for the kids, teachers and parents.

This is not the first time Hill has reunited with the 2017 graduates. She also attended a dinner that one of their kindergarten teachers held in honor of the graduates.

“Remembering their faces from kindergarten and seeing them now is very rewarding,” Hill said. “The faces are familiar, but the maturity level is amazing.”

Sarah, who plans to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology and major in environmental engineering, had some advice for the current Davis Elementary students.

“Work hard but still have fun,” the Lassiter valedictorian advised. “It goes by a lot faster than you think it would.”