The Waxahachie High School Class of 2018 returned to their elementary schools, to reminisce about the past 13 years in the district and remember where their education started.

Monday marked the second-straight year graduating seniors walked the halls of their elementary schools for Senior Serve Day.

Most students agreed the hallways appeared smaller, and ceilings were a little shorter.

For Cole Seevers, Senior Serve Day was the perfect time to thank his music teacher, Chris Burkhalter, who influenced his 10 years of hockey.

“I haven’t been here since fifth grade,” Seevers disclosed. “It’s really cool. Some of my favorite times were here, so it’s really interesting to see all of this. I’m glad to see my teachers too.”

Northside Elementary posted a remembrance wall with class photos of students who are now graduating. He found his picture and shared how he still speaks with students from his fifth-grade class.

Seever plans to finish his basics at Navarro College while working at HEB. He plans to study construction management. When reflecting on the years past, he reconciled, “They were pretty good, but it went by pretty fast.”

ShaQuoria Thompson and Ka’Lisha Coleman were found exiting a classroom.

“I just feel like a giant compared to these little kids. It brings back memories because I’m about to graduate," Coleman relayed.

Thompson, who is moving to Michigan to continue her track-and-field career, added, “It brings back a lot of memories. Especially, because I wasn’t the best student in elementary and I see a lot of my teachers that got me out of trouble a few times.”

For one mom, Theresa Smithey, both of her sons are in the midst of a transitional year. Her oldest son, Austin, is graduating from high school while her youngest, Justin, is graduating fifth grade. Both attended Northside Elementary.

“I think it’s good for them to remember where they came from and see their teachers — his brother is here so now his brother can see his success and hard work,” Theresa explained.

Austin, who is majoring in biology said, “It seems a lot smaller, and you don’t see all of the teachers that you usually did. There are a lot of kids that seem to look up to you that you don’t know.”

Austin was involved in the National Honors Society, WHS band (French horn), showed goats and sheep in FFA, and competed on the tennis and the fishing teams. He admitted Burkhalter initiated his passion for music.

Seniors who visited Shackelford Elementary were kept busy painting rocks, which contributed to the Kindness Garden that lays outside the entrance of the school.

While roaming the halls, Madison Nesmith saw a photo hung of herself and her friend, Erin Dowle. It was of their talent show performance.

Nesmith said they danced to the Michael Jackson song, “Black or White.”

“It was funny seeing those pictures because we thought we were so cute back in the day," Nesmith relayed. "We just thought, ‘what were we wearing? What were we doing?."

Whenever Dowle saw the photo, she expressed, “It hit me right in the feels. It felt so nostalgic because we worked so hard and it was really cute.”

For Dowle, Senior Serve Day reminded her of “all of my hard work over the years.” In high school, she was involved in yearbook, theatre, and swimming. Nesmith was on the dance team for two years and just received a full scholarship to study nursing at the University of Texas at Tyler.

One teacher, Janet Henrey, pulled a senior aside to take a photo with. The third-grade teacher and former math teacher pointed out the last year Shackelford had students in classes broken down by the subject was with the class of 2018. So, Henrey was surprised to see so many of her students since she taught each one math back in the day.

“It’s amazing to see them all as adults now and to hear their future plans. I’m so proud of all of them,” Henrey expressed. “Some of them have changed a lot. Some of their faces look exactly the same, and they are all men and women now. It’s amazing to see how much they have grown and what their aspirations are. They have such bright futures ahead of them.”

Jenny Bridges, WISD director of communications, said, “We strive to produce students who are prepared for all areas of life post-high school, and we believe that service to one’s community is one of the most important things in life. We are so proud that our senior students take joy in serving the campuses where their education began.”

Waxahachie High School seniors will take part in commencement exercises May 25 at Stuart B. Lumpkins Stadium at 8 p.m.

In case of rain or bad weather, graduation will be postponed to 9 p.m. and then, if needed 10 p.m. before being pushed to Saturday, May 26 at 10 a.m. or, if necessary, 7 p.m.


Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450