Just look at those smiles. The ones on the little kids and the big kids, too.
More than 150 seniors at Van High School in Texas went for a stroll last week, a special one called the “Senior Walk.”
Decked out in their bright red caps and gowns the seniors strutted down the halls of the district’s elementary and middle schools, where tiny little kindergarteners and tweens alike clapped and high-fived them.
The high school’s journalism students captured the moments and the photos posted to the school’s Facebook page have gone viral - more than 333,000 likes and 224,000 shares.
Senior walks have caught on in other school districts as well. At Bowdon High School in Georgia, seniors in caps and gowns have walked the halls of the middle school, cheered on by students and faculty.
Seniors at Wylie East High in Texas last year wore their graduation regalia to the grade schools, where the younger students displayed signs for them. “They thought we were so big. They said, ‘wow you’re tall!” senior Taylor Veracruz said.
Also last year students at Middlesboro Elementary school in Kentucky for the first time lined the hallways to greet and honor the high school’s seniors, who wore their caps and gowns for the special walk. Kindergarteners gave the seniors special “graduation lollipops.”
In Alabama last week, the Ohatchee Elementary School invited graduating seniors from the high school to walk through the grade school and be cheered on by the littler kids.
“I never knew how much of an influence we had on the younger kids, but seeing their faces light up as we walked through their halls and high fived them, it really put it in perspective for me,” Van High senior Ashley Mosley said on Facebook.
“It’s something I’ll never forget.”
Fellow senior Elizabeth Horton won’t forget it, either.
“Walking through the halls of the schools and waving to all the little ones brought me so much joy,” Horton said. “It is an incredible thing to know that so many young people look up to us seniors.”
Van High principal Jeff Hutchins told ABC News that he and district superintendent Don Dunn found the idea for the walk through social media.
“We just thought the idea really fit into our central theme that ‘after high school comes college’ and we wanted those little kids to place a face on that dream," Hutchins said.
“And so to see those seniors walk through the campuses, we just felt that it would be an impressionable moment for those students.”
Senior Christina Bowman told ABC that the walk “was kind of a bittersweet thing especially for kids who have been going to the school since those grades. You get to be honored like this, but then you realize it's one of the last times you get to do this with your school.”
Public comments on social media about the senior walk have been overwhelmingly positive.
“Wonderful idea. I think every graduation class should do that for little ones to see. Showing that with studying, working hard and good grades, one can be someone great and make a difference in the world.”
“My old school is in the hood. I'd love to walk the halls and give kids some (symbol) of hope ... specifically in my college cap & gown.”
“The effects of this simple walk could be life-changing for some of those students,” wrote Popsugar, just one of many national media outlets gushing about Senior Walk.
“High school is a little far off for the little ones, but it's never too early to start aspiring to something like graduating. Why doesn't every single school district do this?”