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Inspiring the Next Generation of Bearcat Graduates

Jax Dixon high-fives students.Inside Neblett Elementary School Tuesday morning, students lined the halls with excited chattering, and after a while, a few students started to cheer a familiar phrase in Sherman.

“Let’s go, Bearcats, let’s go!”

The cheer spread like wildfire down the hallway, and soon the hallways almost shook as students stomped their feet with the cheer.

Outside, soon-to-be Sherman High School graduate Lydia Herman fought back tears as she stood with her fellow seniors, all dressed in caps and gowns.

“Coming back here is such an amazing experience,” said Herman, a former Neblett Knight herself. “It’s such a bittersweet moment because I’m leaving here, but I’ll be moving forward in life.”

As Herman took a step inside to begin walking the halls for the last time, she couldn’t keep it together.

“I bawled my eyes out,” she said with a laugh afterward.

Across SISD the same morning, other seniors were inspiring the next generation of Bearcat graduates by taking part in the annual Senior Walk at elementary and middle schools.

Karis Stevenson waves to students.There were hugs and congratulatory words shared between seniors and impactful former educators at every level, and seniors with younger siblings even stopped to take a photo to commemorate the occasion.

For Class of 2023 salutatorian Lana Wynn, reaching this point involved a lot of hard work.

“It’s a lot of late nights studying and eating chips,” Wynn said. “I’m glad I tried my best, and I take comfort in that.”

Wynn, a former Neblett knight like Herman, added things looked a little different at the elementary school nine years later.

“Everything is so much shorter than I remember,” Wynn said.

Some things, though, didn’t change. Chaz Brown remembers being in Priscilla Burns’ music class at Neblett, and he saw her again on Tuesday.

“It’s been years,” he said. “It was a good surprise.”

Brown took to heart the meaning behind the Senior Walk to show younger students that one day they too will be graduates, and he had a few words of encouragement.

“Keep going and don’t be down on yourself,” Brown said. “It’s going to be a long journey, but once you get there, the rest is history.”