‘It kind of feels like closure’; Austin High School seniors end chapter by visiting Woodson, where it all began

Published 9:11 am Wednesday, June 6, 2018

For their last day of high school, the graduating class of 2018 made a trip down memory lane, to the place where everything began for them.

On Tuesday morning, 209 seniors walked through the hallways at Woodson Kindergarten Center. Teachers and administrators watched on with happy tears, as the current kindergarten students lined the halls, receiving high fives from their older peers with wide-eyes and big smiles.

Sydney Marsh, 18, a graduating senior, felt surreal about returning to Woodson on the last day of her high school career. Come fall, she’ll be studying at Carlton College in Northfield, but the last few days have been an emotional roller coaster.

Woodson Kindergarten students hold up their hands for passing seniors during a walkthrough Tuesday morning.

Email newsletter signup

“It kind of feels like closure,” Marsh said after the walk. “It’s crazy to imagine. It feels like it hasn’t been very long when we were in kindergarten and being that little.”

This was also the first time that Woodson hosted a senior walk for the high school students, according to John Alberts, executive director of educational services. He also stated that these graduating seniors were actually the first class of Woodson’s all-day kindergarten program when it started in 2005.

“Their class marked the opening of the center as an all-day program for students,” Alberts said. “These were important markers not just for the students, but also for Austin Public Schools.”

Two generations of Austin students met Tuesday morning as this year’s seniors, the first class at Woodson, walked through giving high-fives to current kindergartners.

One day, these 405 kindergartens will also walk down the halls as the class of 2030, said Principal Jessica Cabeen. Eventually, this will become an annual tradition for seniors to participate in before taking their last rounds at the high school.

It was an especially sentimental moment for Cabeen. These seniors were also Cabeen’s last class of middle school students when she served as assistant principal at Ellis Middle School. Seeing them as young adults, ready to head out into the real world for their next chapter in life was also a special moment for Woodson, Cabeen mentioned. Many, remembering their students as small children, felt that the walk was fulfilling for educators.

“These students accomplished so much,” Cabeen said with a smile. “They’re so inspiring for our (kindergarten) students. It’s really rewarding for all of us to be able to see them all grown up. There were a lot of happy tears today.”