"It all starts out on that blacktop," Campion said, pointing to the playground outside the gym's windows. "Someday you can play for the Honorable Coach Ridgeway. Have fun at Elsmere; it's the best time of your life."
The grade school kids rocked out to a four-minute clip that Ridgeway had put together of the soccer team's finest moments. The theme from "Rocky" set them clapping and swaying.
Kloss had all the student athletes stand; followed by the students who'd been involved in humanitarian organizations.
"And all the students who were in music," Elsmere's music teacher Cori DeFabbio said, "would you stand."
She beamed at the high school students and turned to her current students.
"Every one!" DeFabbio said. "All right!"
Seniors Vanessa Calaban and Amy Forando played a quick and lively tune on their clarinet and oboe.
Reed acknowledged the people who had helped shape the students in their youngest school years. In addition to Hogan, the retired principal from the seniors' Elsmere days, Dorothy Whitney, had returned for the event, as had the retired head custodian, Bert Reed. Retired teachers Shari Piper and Diana Venter (who still substitutes) were also on hand.
"Some of the students have changed so much," Venter said.
Parents had also come " perhaps for an unexpected last shot with a video camera at their children's first school.
"One mother told me that coming here made her realize that her daughter really is finishing school," Reed said.
"I came because it's Elsmere," said Hal Rosenthal, a former PTA president whose son Mark is graduating this year. "This is such a great place for kids.
It's warm and protective, and a great place for kids to start learning."
The kids also formed friendships at Elsmere.
"We met here in fourth grade," Malina Vamvas said as she and Sarah O'Brien talked about Elsmere.