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Graduating seniors go back to elementary school for Bethel’s annual Grad Walk

Graduating high school seniors visit elementary students for Bethel's Grad Walk
Tiffany Eckert
It's an annual tradition for Bethel School District to hold the Grad Walk at every elementary and middle school, Here, graduating seniors parade past 2nd and 3rd graders at Meadow View School, slapping palms and giving nods of encouragement for their futures.

It’s graduation season! And for the Bethel School District—that means it’s Grad Walk time. That’s when seniors march through the hallways of their former elementary schools, looking to inspire. It’s an annual tradition.

Meadow View elementary schoolers are lined up on both sides of the hall excited for the arrival of the “big kids” from Kalapua and Willamette high schools.

At first sight of the seniors, decked out in their maroon caps and gowns, the kids go wild! As the graduating seniors parade past, they give high fives and thumps up.

For the Bethel Grad Walk, seniors bus to all nine elementary and middle schools in the district. Jada Iheanyi-Igwe felt sentimental walking through her old school.

“I saw some of my old teachers and it was really sad,” she said. “But also really happy. I was ‘this tall’ when they taught me and now I’m here and I’m graduating!”

Willamette High School senior Jada Iheanyi-Igwe.
Tiffany Eckert
Willamette High School senior Jada Iheanyi-Igwe smiles before getting on the bus after the Bethel Grad Walk through Meadow View School, where she was once a student. Iheanyi-Igwe will graduate June 7, 2024. Next, she plans to seek a double major in Spanish and Psychology at the University of Oregon.

Willamette High School commencement is Friday, June 7. Kalapua High School seniors graduate June 13.

Bethel District graduating seniors visited little students during the Grad Walk at Prairie Mountain, Fairfield, Malabon, Cascade, Irving, Meadow View, Danebo, Clear Lake and Shasta elementary and middle schools on Thursday, June 6.

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.