Where were you seven years ago?
That was Elsmere Elementary School Principal Kate Kloss' question on Friday, June 1, as the school welcomed back the high school seniors who knew that seven years ago, they had been fifth graders there.
The seniors had already entered the gym singing the school song and taken their seats at the front of the room. As their former teachers introduced them, they stood, towering over some of the people who had helped them take the first steps on their path to learning.
Elsmere students seated on the floor cheered as they heard what each senior would be doing come fall, and what the seniors' favorite memories of Elsmere school were.
By a wide margin, the favorite memory was playing Capture the Flag with Mr. Hogan.
Pete Hogan retired from teaching physical education soon after the current high school class left Elsmere.
This was a good group of children, Hogan said. "We were very close. I'm encouraged by what I see here."
First grade teacher Robin Reed started the ball rolling for the senior event when she realized how many students stopped in at Elsmere to just say hello.
This was the first time the school has held such an event, but Reed said they hope to make it an annual thing.
"The whole staff was so excited and supportive," Reed said of the response to the idea of creating a formal ceremony. "It's great for the little kids to see such role models. They can see all the sports and activities the high school kids do. And college seems so abstract to them, but to hear about it kind of gets them thinking about the day they'll do that."
Some of the sports and activities were highlighted during the program that named a wide variety of colleges " including SUNY Binghamton, Lehigh, Dartmouth, Virginia Tech, Geneseo, Hudson Valley, FIT " the former Elsmere students will be attending. Elsmere's current PE teacher, Phil Ridgeway, coaches Bethlehem's mens varsity soccer team, and Elsmere alumni Ryan Wall and Patrick Campion praised their coach's work and Elsmere school.