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Seniors Go Back to the Beginning at McGowen Elementary Senior Breakfast

Article|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, May 23, 2024
  • Gallery — Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary on Monday, May 20, 2024
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary on Monday, May 20, 2024
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — Jesse McGowen poses for a photo with two seniors.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — There were a lot of hugs.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The traditional Senior Walk
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The traditional Senior Walk
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The traditional Senior Walk
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The traditional Senior Walk
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The traditional Senior Walk
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — revisiting P.E. and the always entertaining parachute
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — revisiting P.E. and the always entertaining parachute
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The seniors hide inside the parachute.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — revisiting P.E. and the always entertaining parachute
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The seniors immediately spring into action with scooters and pool noodles.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The seniors immediately spring into action with scooters and pool noodles.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The seniors immediately spring into action with scooters and pool noodles.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — The seniors immediately spring into action with scooters and pool noodles.
  • Senior Breakfast at McGowen Elementary — one more group photo

McKinney, Texas – There were so many McKinney ISD high school seniors and teachers in the McGowen Elementary library on Monday, May 20, that it was difficult to move around the room.

As they entered in a long line to sign in and grab a bite of breakfast, someone would inevitably spot a familiar face from the past and gleefully wade through the crowd with outstretched arms.

It was the McGowen Senior Breakfast, one of many such occasions across the district on Monday, May 20, that each year invites droves of soon to be graduates from McKinney Boyd High School, McKinney High School and McKinney North High School back to the beginning, to revisit the halls of their elementary schools one final time before launching into the world as graduates.

two female senior students embracing in a hug

There were many happy reunions at the McGowen Senior Breakfast.

For Kat Raehpour from MHS, the McGowen Senior Breakfast was a chance to see old friends and to reflect on where she started. “Everything looks really small. I remember it being so much bigger,” she mused. “It’s really great getting to see people that I don’t go to school with now from the other high schools, [after] we got split up [to different schools].”

Former teachers came back, too, not willing to miss the chance to see their former students one more time and to marvel at the transformation wrought over the past 7 years of middle school and high school. These students left McGowen when they were children and have returned as young adults.

Jesse McGowen sitting and watching seniors greet one another

McGowen Elementary namesake Jesse McGowen at the 2024 McGowen Elementary Senior Breakfast

One figure sat in the center of it all, beaming, taking in the joy of the moment—Jesse McGowen, the school’s beloved namesake and a monumental figure in the history of MISD. Students and teachers alike came to him for handshakes and hugs.

“This is such a special event at McGowen because Mr. McGowen comes every year,” said Principal Kim Luyster. “We’re just so excited for the McGowen seniors of 2024, and we just wish them the best, and we are just so proud of them.”

Eventually, the seniors were gathered up and formed into an orderly line for the traditional Senior Walk through the halls of McGowen as current students emerged from classrooms to cheer them on and send them on their way.

graduating seniors walking through hall way high fiving current students; female student in foreground smiling

The traditional Senior Walk gave the current McGowen students a glimpse into their future and a chance to send off this year’s seniors.

There was a group photo with Jesse McGowen and then many of the seniors were off to the gym with their former P.E. Coach Nick Relle, still at the school, teaching the current generation of McGowen students.

Walking into the gym, they were transported immediately back in time.

The seniors wanted to do the parachute again and Relle obliged them. They encircled it, lifting into the air and back down in multicolored waves. They tossed a rubber chicken into the air with it, and Relle added more items in the center of the chute, rubber balls and foam pieces that they flung into the rafters.

They raised it yet again and this time stepped inside the parachute as it formed an enormous tent over them. And, here they paused, quiet, unwilling to let the moment slip by too quickly.

two male seniors in foreground pulling down on parachute to launch items in the middle which are flying up towards the ceiling

When they entered the gym, the seniors requested one of their favorites from their time at McGowen — the parachute.

But, then it was time to put the parachute away, and soon they were perched atop scooters, foam noodles in hand, laughing and smacking one another as they maneuvered and zipped across the gym floor. The last 7 years disappeared, and they were 5th graders again, if just for a moment.

Then, they gathered for another group photo with Coach Relle, and there were instructions about passes back to their high school campuses, and all too soon, it was time to bid farewell.

“It’s awesome to see a bunch of familiar faces,” said MHS senior Jackson Davis, “friends I haven’t seen in a long time, being able to reconnect with teachers that I admired. It’s pretty awesome to see them all again.”

two male seniors on rolling scooters laughing and trying to hit one another with pool noodles

In the gym, the seniors were transported right back to their elementary years.

“I think it’s amazing that they’re back,” said Relle as the seniors began to make their way toward the exit. “I haven’t seen some of them in 7 or 8 years. It’s so cool to see how they’ve matured and the people that they have become, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”

And, when you’re about to step into your future…it’s often a good time to take a look back and remember the past.

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If you need additional assistance with the content on this page, please contact MISD Communications Department team member Shane Mauldin by phone at 469-302-4007 or by email here .

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