Lincoln Elementary School has a goal for its pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students: graduate from high school.
On Thursday, they saw what that goal looks like.
Seven students who went to Lincoln, 315 East Bigger St., and will graduate Sunday from Hutchinson High School accepted an invitation to return to Lincoln in their cap and gown. This is the second year for the Parade of Honor at Lincoln. The seven walked single file through the winding halls of Lincoln, while the young students lined the hallways, and applauded.
Inside the gym, the seven took turns on stage talking about their next steps.
Danielle Logue is interested in becoming a fashion designer and is considering Hutchinson Community College or Fort Hays State University.
Andrew Aston will study business management at HCC and then be a culinary major at Johnson County Community College. He hopes to be a head chef at a restaurant.
Kaylee Johnson works at the McDonald’s restaurant on East 11th Avenue and will continue working there after graduation. Her goal is to become a manager.
Maria Garcia will enroll in HCC initially and her eventual goal is to be a respiratory therapist.
Rosalba Escamilla also will enroll in HCC next year. Her goal is to be a registered nurse.
Katelynn Witt plans to go to HCC and then complete a four-year degree in pre-law studies before going to law school. She is interested in becoming a Senator.
Dylan Jensen is heading to Fort Hays State University on a football scholarship.
Several of the students - Aston, Garcia, and Escamilla - qualified for a Glover Family Scholarship, essentially available to students who attended Lincoln for at least three years, earned good grades in high school and wrote a letter in their application.
Lincoln Elementary School Principal Darla Fisher acted as assembly moderator, posing questions to the graduates to help educate the children seated on the gym floor.
“What’s a scholarship?” Fisher asked Aston.
It’s “free money” to help you through college, he said.
Not everybody is going on to school right now, Fisher noted, and she asked Johnson about the qualities needed to become a McDonald’s manager. Showing up for work, being nice to people and treating customers right are three of the requirements.
Fisher arrived at Lincoln in 2015, and she had not known these students but she was impressed. She said she wanted to “brag about Lincoln kids now.”
Nothing would make her heart happier, she told those in sixth grade, than to see them return to Lincoln in their high school cap and gown. They could walk the halls of Lincoln, she said, “and I can embarrass you on stage,” she said.
“Exciting and nervous at the same time. I’m glad that we came,” Escamilla said of the visit to Lincoln.
Fisher encouraged the seven graduates to check out their old classrooms. The students noticed what was not the same. None of their teachers are still there. The "pit" - a sunken area in the library - has been covered. “I thought I would be able to find my classroom, but I can’t,” Witt said.
“I would say better,” Escamilla said when asked if the school appeared better or worse. It is “more colorful" now, she said.
School secretary Diana Duryee was the only staff member who was there when these students attended Lincoln. She recognized the faces.
Logue had only been at Lincoln one year, Duryee said, but for some, Lincoln was their only elementary school.
“I'm really proud of you guys,” she told the students.
“I think it’s something we need to keep doing, definitely,” Duryee said of the Parade of Honor.