A ‘bittersweet’ moment: Old Rochester seniors walk through elementary schools

Jun 2, 2023

MATTAPOISETT — Old Rochester Regional High School seniors came full-circle on Friday, June 2 as the soon-to-be graduates donned their caps and gowns to walk through their old elementary schools, greet former teachers and inspire the next generation of Bulldogs.

Beginning at Old Rochester Regional High School, the seniors walked through the Junior High School before they took off in separate buses to elementary schools in Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester.

Graduating is “liberating because we’ve been working so hard for so long,” said Old Rochester senior Thomas Berry as he walked through the halls of Center School in Mattapoisett. “I feel like all the memories are flooding back — it’s nice because I’m in the moment now. “

While at Center School, seniors hugged their old teachers and high-fived first-grade students they passed in the halls.

While the visit at Center School didn’t last long, seniors took the time to have recess one last time and played on the playground.

The Class of 2023 played on the jungle gym, went down the slide and played soccer with elementary school students.

Graduating “doesn’t hit you right away,” said Old Rochester senior Robert Morgan, who will study secondary education and history at Franklin Pierce University in the fall. “You don’t feel the impact right away and then all of a sudden — boom — all these people you’ve known all this time are gone.”

“It’s very nostalgic [to be at Center School],” added Old Rochester senior Mason Hanks, who will attend Massachusetts Maritime Academy to study energy systems engineering. “Just being able to come back, see our old teachers and play on the playground — there’s a lot of memories and a lot of things I’ve forgotten that are coming back to me now.”

For Old Rochester senior Quinn O’Brien-Nichols, who will study nursing at Salve Regina University, the visit to Center School was “bittersweet.”

But despite the good memories, she’s ready to move on to bigger things.

Graduating “feels pretty awesome because I’m ready to be an adult and move on and see what the world really has to offer,” she said.

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