DHS graduates walk halls of elementary schools

BOX ELDER, S.D. — While some members of the Class of 2022 are certainly ready to say goodbye to their high school hallways, there are others cherishing the memories they’ve created in them.

As for the Douglas High School Class of 22′, some of the memories began in the hallways of their elementary schools. On Wednesday, all 173 members of the Patriots graduating class made their way down the halls of Box Elder Elementary schools, Vandenberg and Patriot Elementary.

There were greeted with eager and outstretched hands of the current elementary students, looking for an uplifting “high-five” from their older role models.

Dhs Graduates Walk 8

For the students that stayed in Douglas School District for all 13 years of their education, it even gave them the chance to catch up with old teachers, some that impacted their lives forever.

Gracie Chapman, who attended the Douglas School District all the way through graduation, will be attending Buena Vista University in Iowa and will play volleyball and run track for the Beavers.

She says it been difficult watching some students leave over the years, with their parents being stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base. But Chapman says that it’s been fun watching everyone grow up into the people they are now.

“With the base being here, a lot of people leave, a lot, and then so those who have stuck around,” Chapman said. “It’s kind of really hard to let go of everybody but I wouldn’t trade where I went to school at all.”

The students’ trip back to their old elementary schools was equally as special for the teachers that taught them along the way.

Mary Coates, who’s taught kindergarten in the Douglas School District for 34 years, says that she’s enjoyed teaching the kids and is proud of seeing them all grown up.

“I’ve got kids of kids that I’ve had, so sometimes I call them by their parents names the first couple of weeks I have them until I get used to the fact that their parents are grown now and and on their way,” Coates said fondly. “But I’ve had a lot of generations of children and students and it’s just a real honor to see them walk down the hall and taking that next step and encouraging their education, so they can always keep growing.”

The DHS class of 22′ will graduate on Saturday, May 22 at The Patriot stadium at 2 p.m.

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