It was a bit past 11 a.m. on Friday, June 20, the last day of school for students at the Roger Wellington Elementary School, and the crowd of parents packed the edge of the school’s front walkway.
Smartphones were on camera mode, iPads held aloft and cameras at the ready as the school prepared to bid farewell to their latest batch of fourth graders as they would head up Goden Street next year to the Chenery Middle School with a “moving up” celebration for the “graduating” students.
In the tradition of graduation celebrations at the high school, elementary schools and the Chenery are incorporating final day of school events for fourth and eighth graders to help students transition to their next school, and saying goodbye to teachers and staff (and the school) one last time.
“It’s a very exciting day; he’s very excited to go into the Chenery,” said Rene Hudson, mom of fourth grader Bruce.
“It’s a big transition for him as he’s my oldest,” said Hudson who will be coming to two more celebrations when her pair of younger children move on in the next few years.
Finally, after touring the inside of the school one final time, the fourth graders emerged – many wearing “Exiting Wellington” blue T-shirts – led by Principal Amy Spangler and Gwen Irish was retiring Friday after 42 years as a second grade teacher at the school.
Moms and dads gave out flowers, kisses and high fives to the bemused students alternated between the happy state of being on summer recess and the melancholy of saying so long to teachers and friends.
“It’s sad because you’re leaving your teachers but going to the Chenery is exciting because of new teachers, new friends. That’s awesome,” said fourth grader Talia Fiore, while nearby a few students had tears in their eyes.
As students – now playing in the turf field and eating popsicles – were looking forward to a new school, teachers viewed the day as the culmination of one adventure.
The ocean was fourth grade teacher Samantha McCabe’s theme this year for her class at the Roger Wellington Elementary School on Orchard Street, with her students being her “little sea turtles.”
“I’m with the children at the best times of their lives,” said McCabe.
And on the final day of the school year, McCabe’s pupils finally reached the shore.
“So we’re all pretty emotional because they are graduating and moving on to a new part of their lives and I will always be a part of this moment.”
“It’s the most amazing moment of my life,” said the seven-year veteran as parents and student wanted one final hug with her.