POULSBO — Kids, parents and staff members applauded joyfully as a line of students from every grade paraded at Poulsbo Elementary School to close the school year.
To the students and adults, the parade served as one last “hurrah” before moving up to the next grade.
Many dream about their future. Davin Lancast, a second-grader, says he wants to be a paleontologist or a meteorologist when he grows up. Arianna Allison, a third-grader, hopes to become a veterinarian. She loves dogs the most, saying they’re a lot more fun than cats.
Mia Kalmbach hopes to become a chemical engineer and is excited about going into the third grade next year. Keegan Devalos wants to be a police officer when he grows up, and seeing members of the Poulsbo Police Department handing candy to the ecstatic children boosted his dream.
To the officers, their presence at Poulsbo Elementary is an opportunity to remind the young students that their education will mean so much more in the real world.
“Kids see that aspect of society,” Deputy Police Chief Andy Pate said. “We like being part of this school and getting to meet the kids. I think it’s important for them to see role models at their age.”
Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson was thrilled to be a part of the parade.
“I love doing things with the kids,” Erickson said. “It’s important for them to see me as mayor so they know we’re here to support them and help them. They should know the local government are good guys.”
Erickson walked with the students in the parade and took pictures. Some of her favorite floats included a Viking ship and one with a flag that read, “We are orcas.”
Students dressed in an array of attire. Some wore hats decorated with drawings of the Olympic Mountains. Others wore period clothing and paraded with covered wagons made of paper and chicken wire. The PTSA’s float featured an image of the S’Klallam whale; another float was a Styrofoam model of the Space Needle, complete with a “12” flag on top.
The parade isn’t just a new tradition for students at Poulsbo Elementary; new graduates of North Kitsap High School participated, revisiting the hallways of their childhood.
“It’s really weird just seeing that everything’s so much smaller than it used to be,” Nate Griswold said. “We were used to the cafeteria being bigger and the fields being bigger.”
He, Garrett Miller and Kaleb Golden are close to achieving their own dreams. Golden plans to go to Olympic College next year to study criminal justice. Griswold hopes to go to a university in Montana to learn physical therapy. Miller obtained his associate of arts degree and will pursue a degree in radiology.
Reflecting on their elementary school years, they said you are held more accountable as you get older.
“At elementary, you had no responsibilities,” Griswold said. “You just came to recess and that’s it.”
June 16 was the last day of school for students at Poulsbo Elementary and North Kitsap High. The schools hope to make the parade a tradition for future graduates.