Thornapple Kellogg — Teachers and their second- and third-grade students recently lined the main hallways of Lee Elementary school, eagerly awaiting a visit from the Thornapple Kellogg High School graduating seniors.
Some students had made hand-drawn signs for older siblings, while others could barely stand still in all the excitement.
A line of those in black caps and gowns soon filled the open space, and applause erupted for the class of 2022.
The annual senior walk began at Thornapple Kellogg Middle School, then stopped at McFall, Lee and Page elementaries to walk the halls, greet former teachers and celebrate their achievement.
The parade ended at the high school, where seniors gathered for a sendoff lunch and to open time capsules they made in sixth grade.
The sealed envelopes contained letters from parents, goals written to their future selves, and class projects and assignments.
Senior Abby Marcukaitis opened her time capsule to find a sixth-grade class photo and “getting to know you” sheet she wrote about herself, her hobbies and her friends.
Abby’s mom, Kris Marcukaitis, also attended the walk to cheer on her daughter and watch her practice walking across the stage in front of her class. Abby’s twin brother will graduate from West Michigan Aviation Academy the same day and time, so Marcukaitis wanted to see both her kids walk.
“I’m really proud of these seniors,” Marcukaitis said. “They’ve endured a lot through the pandemic; they sacrificed things and toughed it out to get where they are now.”
Alexis Stark is a reporter covering Byron Center, Caledonia, Godfrey-Lee, Kenowa Hills and Thornapple Kellogg. She grew up in metro Detroit and her journalism journey brought her west to Grand Rapids via Michigan State University where she covered features and campus news for The State News. She also co-authored three 100-question guides to increase understanding and awareness of various human identities, through the MSU School of Journalism. Following graduation, she worked as a beat reporter for The Ann Arbor News, covering stories on education, community, prison arts and poetry, before finding her calling in education reporting and landing at SNN. Alexis is also the author of a poetry chapbook, “Learning to Sleep in the Middle of the Bed.”
School News Network reports on the 20 public school districts in Kent County, which enroll more than 90,000 students. Founded in 2013, we are an editorially independent news site funded by Kent ISD, local districts and community sponsors, and powered by an experienced team of reporters, editors and photojournalists. We specialize in covering classroom teaching and learning, analyzing the many issues that enhance or discourage student success, and highlighting the education magic that happens each day in our public schools.