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Graduates connect during Four Corners send-off

Four Corners alumni and recent graduates of Superior High School greet fifth-graders at the elementary school during a special event to inspire the younger students. Maria Lockwood

Robed in blue, 17 former Four Corners Elementary School students walked down the hallways of their alma mater on the last day of school, handing out high-fives to the strains of American Authors.

"This is going to be the best day of my life," the band crooned over the school’s loudspeakers as the younger students lining the halls cheered.

"These are all kids who went to school here," third grade teacher Stefanie Smetak announced before the Superior High School graduates began their parade June 8. "It could be you someday."

Many of the young adults hadn’t visited their elementary stomping grounds for years.

"Oh my gosh, Mom, I didn’t realize how small it was," said Paige Lambert as she walked into the gymnasium.

Later during an all-school assembly, the Superior High School graduates shared their names and future plans for careers in fields ranging from nursing and engineering to firefighting and orthodontics.

"One day this will be you," Smetek told the crowd.

Later, the returning alumni joined in the annual tug of war competition, facing off against the fifth graders, who were experiencing a graduation of their own. As the assembly ended, teachers, fellow students and the high school graduates filed past the fifth graders, doling out handshakes, high fives and, when their teachers came along, tear-filled hugs.

While inspiring the next generation, the Four Corners alumni literally touched a piece of their past. They looked over an old class photo and reconnected with teachers Debra Jones, Mary Jane Fouts and Robin Silvernale.

"You all grew so much," Jones said. "Don’t they look great?"

Music teacher Amy Frane quizzed them on their Four Corners School Song.

"I’m so proud you remember the song," she said after they chanted "One, two, three corners in the school."

The trip down memory lane concluded with a visit to the playground for pictures and lunch in the cafeteria.

"It hasn’t changed a bit," Lambert said. "It feels like déjà vu running through the hallways."

In all, 18 of the approximately 30 Four Corners alumni still living in the district took part in the event. They smiled, chatted and took turns sliding down the playground tube slide.

The event offered a glimpse into the future for some graduates, a trip to the past for others. And it was a way for the close-knit Four Corners community to give these young adults a pat on the back.

"We just want to celebrate them, too," Smetak said.