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School year wraps up with various activities

By Staff | Jun 11, 2011

The last day of school was full of emotion and fun as elementary school traditions continued for fifth grade students while they spent time with their friends and said their goodbyes.
A fifth grade picnic tradition since 1983, when Gulf Elementary School first opened, was in good spirits Friday morning as students played kickball, soccer, football, basketball or just sat around and shared memories. The students also were treated to a barbecue of hotdogs and hamburgers.
Principal Donnie Hopper said Friday was a day of fun for the students to hang out with friends and remember their memories at Gulf Elementary School while outside all day long. He said many students also took pictures to capture and save their memories of elementary school.
“It was their week to let loose,” he said about the various activities that took place. “It’s a good day.”
Hopper also enjoyed the day of fun as he played kickball with his students, catching fly balls and tagging students before they made it to base.
Fifth grader Eddel Martinez, 11, said he enjoyed playing kickball the most out of all the activities that were offered.
“I think our team is winning,” he said.
Although Holly Donohue, 11, did not like to play sports, she thought the day was fun. She played duck, duck, goose with her friends off in the corner of the field.
Holly said she was looking forward to the picnic Friday because she wanted school to end.
Patriot Elementary School Principal Carol Bromby said she began the fifth grade Walk of Fame when the school opened in 2007. She began the tradition at Hector Cafferata Jr. Elementary School when she was a principal there. She said it is an important tradition because the little ones get to see how the older students are valued.
“It is pretty powerful with the music playing,” Bromby said about the “Pomp and Circumstance” graduation song playing over the speaker as they parade through the building.
Students and teachers lined the hallways Friday afternoon as they waved and cheered their emotional goodbyes to the fifth grade students as they walked by.
First grade teacher Nicole Micieli said she loves the Walk of Fame.
“I think it’s a wonderful tradition,” she said. “It is a final way for them to say goodbye to the building and for us to cheer them on.”
Hugs were given to their fellow classmates, while tears dripped down their face once the Walk of Fame was over.
The tears began once Haley Gamez, 11, began walking the hallways as she saw all of her old friends. She said it was emotional for her because Patriot Elementary is the best school she has attended.
“I’m excited, but sad,” she said about attending Trafalgar Middle School next year.
Katie Blakeslee, 11, was also happy and sad as she paraded through the hallways Friday afternoon. She said kids were holding up signs that read “congratulations” and “have a good next year.”
“I really don’t want to leave,” Katie said about moving on to Oasis Middle School next year.
The tears continued for many students as they lined up on the bus ramp Friday and said more goodbyes to their teachers and friends.
Brandon Lanier, 11, said he was sad because all of his friends are leaving.
He said the Walk of Fame was really hard because he saw the younger kids crying as well.
The Walk of Fame was also emotional for the teachers as they saw their students take their final walk through the school.
Linda Petrucci said she told her fifth grade students that a chapter is done, but the book is not over.
She said the Walk of Fame is a great experience for the kids as they leave the school.
Mike Padula, fifth grade teacher, said he enjoys the Walk of Fame because every year it is a different experience.
“At the end it gets you in the stomach,” he said after his students finished their last walk through the school. “They are like your kids heading to college.”
After the students boarded the buses, the teachers and Bromby gathered at the front of the circle and waved goodbye to all the students while each bus driver honked their horns.