May 31, 2023 -- Seniors from Independence High School shared their graduate cheer with students at Liberty Elementary School to show the younger students what success can look like.
Dressed in their cap and gowns, Independence seniors paraded behind their marching band through the halls waving to younger students, who clapped the seniors along. Among the seniors was Liberty alumna Marzhae Cheers.
“I feel great, so ready to graduate. I saw some of my old teachers, and oh my goodness. I can’t believe I’m this old! I’m about to graduate and be out of school. I am just so happy some of those teachers remembered me,” said Cheers.
The march is part of an annual scholar walk conducted at several schools throughout Columbus City Schools at the end of the school year. Elementary students line the hallways as seniors walk their way through the school. Liberty Elementary School Principal Sholanda Likely said it’s crucial for the younger students to see themselves in those seniors.
“It’s important for our babies here at Liberty to see the older kids -- to see the possibility. Because one day it will be them in that cap and gown, hopefully, coming back to their elementary school and walking through high-fiving the kids and giving them encouragement to push on,” Likely said.
While Cheers walked the halls with a large smile, hugging teachers who helped get her through her K-12 education, she said she’s now nervous about her next steps as a graduate.
“Paying bills and all the responsibilities, it’s a lot. But my plan right now is to attend Claflin University in South Carolina. I need to go this summer to visit. Right now, I want to go into nursing, but I know changes happen," Cheers added. "So, we’ll figure out if that’s something that sticks."
When asked what advice she would give to those students at Liberty, Cheers' advice was "don't grow up too fast."
“I was in their shoes watching seniors graduate. Now, I am here, wishing I was a kid again.”