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A Virtual Homecoming at Kernersville Elementary

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Grad 3 MAY 26, 2020 – When Lora Tiano became the principal at Kernersville Elementary School, she started a tradition of inviting high school seniors who had gone to Kernersville Elementary to don their caps and gowns and come back for a celebration with current students.

For the first two “Homecoming & Handprints” celebrations, Kernersville Elementary students and teachers would line the halls as students from such schools as East Forsyth and Glenn paraded down the halls.

Elementary students would hold up signs they had made. Teachers would hug former students. Students and adults alike would clap for the graduating seniors.

Although that was not possible this year, the people at Kernersville Elementary came up with a creative virtual celebration.

After inviting high school seniors who had gone to Kernersville Elementary to send in a picture in their caps and gowns and to share the memory of a special moment at Kernersville Elementary, Valentine-Turner, who Social Emotional Learning Specialist Working, and others created an online video for everyone to share.

“We were all sad not to be able to host the school parade and reception,” Valentine-Turner said. 

“However, we sure had fun putting together a virtual celebration!  We are so proud of all of our 2020 graduating seniors!”

Tiano said, “I am so glad that Jenna had the idea to make our tradition a virtual one! It's nice for us to be able to celebrate our alumni, even when we need to get creative in order to do so. Our students remain ‘ours’ for a lifetime, so being able to celebrate this milestone with them is very important to our KES family.”

Grad 6 Altogether, 35 seniors participated in the virtual celebration,” Valentine-Turner said.

“We had students from East, Glenn, Atkins, N.C. Leadership Academy, Mount Tabor, Forsyth Tech, Penn Foster High School and W-S Street School to participate!”

​The tradition started three years ago after Tiano came to Kernersville Elementary from Glenn, Valentine-Turner said.

“She approached me with the idea to incorporate a yearly homecoming of graduating seniors as a part of our school culture and tradition.  She had been a part of similar programs at Glenn.  We held our fist homecoming in May 2018.”

“It soon became one of the most loved events of the school year. It is such a good experience for everyone. Former teachers feel a connection to the graduating seniors. The seniors get a chance to feel proud for their accomplishment, and our elementary students get to experience motivation as they see older students who worked hard to reach the goal of high school graduation.” 

“It's events like homecoming that really strengthen our school's culture of connection, personal values and belonging.”

“Big thanks to our local high schools and PTAs who promoted the event through social media and email. Kernersville Elementary Webmaster, Dana Routh, also made sure that event info was posted on the KES Website.”

“The video was made through WeVideo.  Our Media Coordinator, Peggy Norris, is very experienced in WeVideo as she uses Wevideo to broadcast our student news, WCAT-TV at KES.  She gave me a lot of support and helped me learn how to edit in WeVideo.”

“I really worked on it off and on over the months of April and May. It didn't seem like too much work because it was such a joy to honor these students. It was also personally fun to learn how to use WeVideo!”

“We have a saying at KES, ‘Once A Wildcat, Always A Wildcat!’ Recognizing our graduates with a slide show was a virtual way for the graduates to remember this saying and feel special!”

You will find the video at Virtual Homecoming

You will find the story about the 2019 celebration at Handprints.