Petal seniors make walk through district’s halls once last time

By HASKEL BURNS,

Within the coming months, Petal High School senior Payton Rehm will get his diploma and pursue a chemical engineering degree before going to Mississippi State University for his master’s degree.

But before that, Rehm and 284 of his fellow seniors got a chance to revisit what brought them to this moment, touring every school in the Petal School District during their recent annual Senior Walk.

“It’s amazing,” Rehm said. “Just being able to go through these schools and realize all the hard work that we put in throughout the years – it’s time to move on to the next chapter.”

The walk, which began at Petal High School, gave the seniors a chance to walk through the halls of each school, visiting other students and former teachers one last time before graduation. The walk moved from the high school to Petal Upper Elementary School, Petal Primary School, Petal Upper Elementary School and Petal Middle School.

For high school principal Rob Knight, the Senior Walk serves three distinct purposes.

“One, it’s good for the kids that are here to see what a graduate from Petal High School is – they can say, ‘Hey, that’s attainable, and that’s what I want to be some day,’” he said. “Also, we think that it’s good for our students to come and see their previous teachers.

“It’s not just a high school graduation – it takes all of these teachers to build that foundation, and our students would not be here without the teachers of all these other schools. And it’s the last time (the seniors) will ever go through these halls again, at least for a lot of them, so it’s an opportunity for one last walk through those halls.”

The Senior Walk got a soft start of starts in 2017, when the graduating class visited Petal Primary School. The full event began last year, when the tour extended throughout the entire district.

“I think the kids at the school like it, and the teachers like to see their kids return and give them hugs and do those things,” Knight said. “Also, I think the (seniors) really enjoy it when they get on the bus, because it’s kind of that final memory for them at our schools.”

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