HJ Cody graduates had a chance to visit their former elementary schools including Steffie Woima, CP Blakely, Beacon Hill and Poplar Ridge on Thursday, June 22.
The idea for the elementary school visits originally came from Principal of Ecole Steffie Woima school Angela Eadie-Gyori.
“It was an amazing opportunity to give back and show our gratitude for our community,” said HJ Cody Vice Principal Rebecca Schaab.
“It allowed our students to reflect on how far they have come and hopefully inspire our future Lakers.”
For the graduates the experience was surreal.
“I think it really put into perspective how far we have come as individuals—especially with graduation following the event a couple of days afterwards,” HJ Cody graduate and former Steffie Woima student Breckyn Lagoutte said.
“The activity really drove home to me how many different individuals impacted not only my education but my development as a person as well.”
Being able to see familiar faces from the past was a highlight of many of the graduates experiences.
“It was especially heartwarming to see Miss Reed because we’re the first class she ever taught and seeing Mrs Mayberry of course for me because she was my first teacher in second grade when I started at Poplar Ridge,” HJ Cody graduate and former Poplar Ridge student Kaelyn Katona said.
“Getting to see all of these teachers again to reconnect with them as mature adults allowed us to thank them and demonstrate our gratitude for all that they have done to support us over the years,” Lagoutte added.
The visit also helped to remind the graduates that there will always be people in the community who have their backs.
“Seeing where we started as a grad class allowed us to appreciate our own growth as well, even as friendships changed or interests evolved; but revisiting the elementary school drove home the fact that we will always have a support system to rely on if our plans don’t go as we hoped,” Lagoutte said.
While plans are not yet set on whether the activity will be brought back next year this years graduates are hoping for the tradition to continue so that others can experience what they did.
“Seeing all of the kids excited to be there to celebrate us was extremely heart-touching, and I hope that the tradition continues so everyone can experience the interconnection it encourages,” Lagoutte said.