Thirty-five fifth-graders marked their graduation from Benton Elementary on May 29 along with their families and teachers.
Before the ceremony began, students waited anxiously in the library with their fifth-grade teachers Kim Aitkens and Joyce Coats.
“It’s a great steppingstone for our kids into middle school,” Coats said. “We give them the confidence to move on.”
Relatives, friends and fellow teachers gathered in the cafeteria surrounded by paintings and mosaics created by the fifth-grade classes.
The graduates filed in from both sides to the traditional graduation music, “Pomp and Circumstance.”
Principal Debra Barksdale welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
“It is important that we celebrate this time together,” Barksdale said. “This really is a special class this year. They’ve grown academically and socially, and they really are well-behaved.”
Four graduates shared their fond memories of elementary school. Two of them read poems they wrote. Then Jordan Fannin shared the story of how he met his best friend in kindergarten.
“Our teacher called us two peas in a pod back then,” Fannin said. “I didn’t know what that meant, but now I do.”
Each graduate was called to receive his or her diploma along with a color photo of the entire class.
Students also received yellow carnations tied with ribbon in the school’s colors of black and yellow. After the diplomas and flowers were handed out, each student was asked to give the flower to a special person who had made a difference in his or her life.
Before the ceremony broke for cake and punch, a slideshow was presented of pictures the students had brought in. The show included four or five pictures of each student, along with many childhood memories.
“It was good, it made me cry,” said Susie Purvis, a parent of one of the graduates. “(It) makes you realize how fast they grow.”