LEWISTON — Austin Wing, Brittney McKay, Tahj Fulgham and 24 other Lewiston High School seniors were rock stars at McMahon Elementary School on Thursday.

One day before their graduation, seniors in caps and gowns took a Senior Walk through the school they attended as elementary students. Six buses were dispatched from the high school Thursday morning carrying seniors to one of the six elementary schools.

It was the first time Lewiston held a Senior Walk, but it won’t be the last. It was a hit.

At McMahon, youngsters lined the halls waiting for McMahon alumni. When the doors opened and the seniors came through, students and teachers cheered, applauded and waved pieces of paper.

“So proud of you!” one teacher said.

“Congratulations!” said another.

Seniors hugged former teachers. There were tears.

“I know the kids. I was on the floor as a custodian when they were here,” said Paul Laliberte, who is an educational technician at McMahon.

“I was applauding them,” Laliberte said. “One of them would go by and give me a hug. It brought tears to my eyes. I wasn’t prepared for this.”

“It brings back memories, good memories,” he said.

When asked what walking through her old school was like, Brittney McKay, 18, started crying and could not talk for a moment. “Sorry,” she said through sobs. The walk brought back memories, she said.

“It was heartbreaking seeing all my old teachers,” said Austin Wing, 18. “It’s pretty cool coming back to your old school.”

“It was crazy,” agreed Tahj Fulgham, 18, who was all smiles after being cheered and applauded by hundreds. “It’s an amazing feeling.”

Second-graders were inspired.

“I am happy for them,” said Crew Langley, 8.

“I felt proud of them,” Arianna Hudon, 8, said of the graduates.

“I thought that in the next 10 years, that will be me walking through a hall at Montello or Geiger or MacMahon,” said Hamdi Mohamed, 8, as the seniors walked by.

Their teacher, Kate Storey, said seniors visiting in caps and gowns shows young students the importance of working hard, what a big deal graduating from high school is, and how exciting it is.

Don Ferrara, assistant principal at Lewiston High School, said about 110 students, or half the graduating class, participated. Seniors are out of school and were asked to volunteer their time.

“This is the first time we’ve done it,” Ferrara said. As word spreads, future seniors are “going to want to come back, remembering the big guys who walked through and were treated like rock stars.”

Lewiston Superintendent Bill Webster said there’s no question “we have started a new tradition in Lewiston.”

He watched a Senior Walk at Montello. “It was quite emotional. I have never seen an idea capture interest and support like this one,” he said.

The walk reminds seniors how far they’ve come, gives them a chance to connect with the school that impacted their lives, “and serves as a motivational experience for the elementary students,” Webster said.

He initiated the Senior Walk after sharing a Facebook post from ZamZam Mohamed participating in one from Von High School in Texas.

“My Facebook post has now been shared with 1.1 million people, even though it wasn’t my idea,” Webster said.

Webster wrote to the school superintendent in Texas “thanking him for promoting this wonderful event.”

In Auburn, Senior Walk will become a new tradition, said Superintendent Katy Grondin.

On June 2 and 3, Edward Little High School seniors took senior walks at the elementary schools. Participation was small but it will grow, Grondin said.

Grondin watched seniors in caps and gowns walk through the halls of Sherwood Heights Elementary School.

It was wonderful, she said. “They were so welcomed.” Youngsters and teachers applauded, cheered and waved signs.

It shows graduates how they’re appreciated for what they’ve achieved, “and makes the connection between elementary and high school,” she said.

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