The fifth-grade halls at Mashburn Elementary School filled with chatter Friday about 2:45 p.m., as parents, teachers and younger students awaited their oldest peers to watch them leave the campus for the last time as students.
Chatter turned to cheers as Tracey Smith, who has served as principal at the school on Samples Road since 2009, led the soon-to-be middle schoolers down the line, hands extending from every direction for high fives.
It was fitting that Smith led the elementary school graduates to the bus on the last day of school. The bell was the last one she, too, will hear ring at Mashburn. Smith was named principal at Brookwood Elementary School for the 2017-18 school year.
“I haven’t cried yet,” she said, surprised. She had warned kids would not be the only ones crying.
Maybe it was the bubbles teachers were blowing at buses as they departed. Maybe it was the chants of “Summer! Summer! Summer!” from students as they stepped into the already seasonal sun.
There were celebrations. There were tears. There were goodbyes and I’ll miss you’s. Because school is out. But just for the summer.