Seniors at Polk County High School and Polk County Early College took part Friday in a new pre-graduation celebration that school officials hope to make an annual event.

Senior Walk took students at both schools back in time, allowing them to visit the elementary and middle schools that formed the basis of their educational experience.

Seniors began the day by donning their caps and gowns, hopping on school buses and heading first to Polk County Middle School, where they walked through hallways lined with students and teachers. The middle schoolers (and teachers) cheered as each senior passed, some reaching out to exchange hand slaps.

Students then split into separate groups and boarded a bus bound for the elementary school from which they graduated. Polk Central, Saluda, Sunny View, Tryon – each location greeted a bus full of former students. Some seniors again walked the halls of their former schools. Some shared their post-graduate plans. Some received gifts.

The journey through their educational past, seeing the places and teachers that helped shape them into high school seniors soon to graduate, touched the emotions of nearly every participant.

School officials were beyond pleased to see how Senior Walk unfolded.

“Though it is not necessarily a new idea, sending our prospective graduates out to walk the halls of the middle and elementary school that helped bring them to this milestone in their lives was an exciting prospect,” said Dr. Brandon Schweitzer, Polk County High School principal. “We immediately went to work to figure out how to make it happen.

“We truly did not know what to expect, but we were blown away by the positive response. The experience served as a reminder of the many teachers and influential adults that have played a part in our seniors’ educational experience over the past 13 years while also inspiring young students to finish the journey and follow their dreams.”

Seniors, administrators, elementary and middle school students – all agreed Senior Walk was a day they would not soon forget.

“Many thanks to all the principals, teachers and staff that made this such a successful event,” Schweitzer said. “We are definitely planning on making this a new tradition in our end-of-year proceedings for seniors.”