Soon-to-be graduates returned to their roots at Cherokee Ridge Elementary School May 12 to catch up with former classmates and reminisce with former teachers, staff and school administrators.

The students, many of whom wore their graduation caps and gowns, were also invited to participate in one of Cherokee Ridge’s newest traditions, the signing of the graduation pole, which is in a rock garden in the front of the school.

“We’ve been having them come back for a while, but with them signing the graduation poll, this is actually the second year (for) doing that,” said CRE principal Lori Vann.

Vann and other teachers said it was fun to see their former students, some of whom were once part of kindergarten classes at the elementary school.

The school had invited the seniors to stop by between 10 a.m. and noon and Vann said around 40 seniors had dropped by on campus in the first hour.

She added that the total number of seniors in the group was around 90. That group featured 2020 graduates from different high schools in the area, mostly in Catoosa and Walker counties.

“They have changed so much, but it’s still really incredible to see that they made it, to realize that we got to be a part of building that foundation and that they would want to come back and share that with us,” Vann added. “That’s what’s so important.”

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