The hallways of Lowell Elementary School bursted with anticipation as the young, smiling students fidgeted while their teachers lined up them up along the walls to make a clear aisle down the middle for their honored guests.
When everything was set, seniors from Waukesha North High School paraded through Lowell halls in their graduation gowns. The June 3 senior walk was designed to inspire younger students to do well in high school and beyond.
North High School Principal Rebecca Newcomer got the idea from a viral video out of Texas, which inspired her to create this event in the Waukesha School District.
'It's really important to connect with our elementary schools,' Newcomer said. 'We looked at the elementary schools our students came from, and it was spread out between 15 schools.'
To narrow it down, North decided to send their grads to the schools within walking distance, Lowell and Summit View, as well as Blair Elementary. Summit View even held a reception that included former students, teachers and siblings.
'It's something to encourage students that the work they do in elementary school will help get them to the level the seniors are on, that what they do here matters,' Lowell Principal Amy Riesbel said.
In typical graduation fashion, the ceremony started a bit late, leaving time for the cheerfully rambuncous crowd to get their signs and streamers ready for the graduates.
There were signs and banners of all different designs and colors saying things like 'NHS Graduates, good job, congratulations!' and 'Have a good summer' and 'Happy Graduation Class of 2016!' The students held them proudly in the air before the graduates even began their walk.
'They're coming, they're coming,' a student shouted over the cheering crowd.
'Pomp and Circumstance' began to play over the loud speakers as the reflection of shiny purple robes emerged down the hall. Students erupted with shouts and applause.
There were high-fives exchanged between some seniors and elementary school students. And a few former Lowell students exchanged hugs with old teachers, who were standing with the elementary students.
'They saw many former students and commented on how grown up they are now,' Riesbel said.
Megan Thompson is just one of the seniors who strutted down the elementary school halls. She said the senior grad walk was important because it inspires young students to continue to work hard in school.
'The younger students look up to older students as role models so it was neat to see how in awe of us they were and to picture them walking in our footsteps one day,' she said.
This was Lowell's first year putting on the graduation walk, but Riesbel and Newcomer said it won't be their last. Although the ceremony was over pretty quickly, it is likely it will stay in the mind of the students for years to come, Riesbel said.
'It was emotional for me watching them,' Newcomer said, 'There was not a student I saw that didn't have a huge smile on their face.'