Visiting scholars: La Jolla elementary schools hold reunions for graduating high school seniors

Graduating high school seniors who attended La Jolla's elementary schools attended reunions this month.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Before putting on a cap and gown to mark the end of high school, graduating seniors in La Jolla participated in another graduation tradition: donning their future college’s gear and gathering with their former elementary school classmates at the places where they first got schooled.

Bird Rock Elementary School

Graduating high school seniors who attended Bird Rock Elementary School gather for a reunion June 2.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Bird Rock Elementary held its reunion June 2 on its upper playground, inviting its class of 2015 to gather, review old yearbooks and share treats.

Nera Holland said it was “super overwhelming” to be among her former Bird Rock classmates. “Time [is] flying, but it’s happy. This is such a nice school and it’s happy to be back among my friends here.”

“Everything seems so small,” she added.

“It’s nostalgic,” said former BRES student Karis Bauman. “Being back in this environment, being back where we used to walk in and see our classes. … So many memories coming back at us.”

Several students said farewell to Carol Shear, a third-grade teacher who had just announced her retirement.

After teaching for 26 years at BRES, Shear said she has most enjoyed the community. “The collaboration between the community, staff and students is just like a small family.”

Shear said seeing the graduating seniors again is “rewarding.”

“The fact that they want to come back, it reinforces what we do,” she said. “We’re all moving on. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Torrey Pines Elementary School

Graduating high school seniors reunite June 6 at their former elementary school, Torrey Pines.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Graduating seniors who attended Torrey Pines Elementary congregated across from the school June 6, hugging former classmates, teachers and other students’ parents.

Renee Kenagy, whose daughter Chiara is graduating, organized the event. “Half the kids I don’t recognize because they completely changed,” Kenagy said.

TPES teacher Martha Bagaporo, who taught fourth grade for the school’s class of 2015, said the yearly reunions “are fun for me because I feel like in fourth grade, some of us have school figured out, but many don’t. When they come back here, they’re all so accomplished.”

“It’s a privilege to get to claim a little piece of that,” she said.

Seniors Daniel Kozbial and Ajay Krishnan said they enjoyed the reunion but it was a bit strange.

“I didn’t see a lot of those people for years,” Kozbial said.

“It’s been weird not seeing them for a while,” Krishnan said.

La Jolla Elementary School

Graduating high school seniors who went to La Jolla Elementary School reunited to parade through the campus June 10.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

La Jolla Elementary’s class of 2015 reunion June 10 began with a parade. Seniors walked in a line throughout the campus as current teachers and students stood outside their classrooms applauding the graduates.

Many teachers hugged their former students, remarking on how much they’ve grown.

“I love this tradition,” said parent Kirstin Crago, whose son Nathan Kirn is graduating and whose daughter is in fifth grade at LJES. “It’s special that we have it.”

Senior Mari (Logan) Morrison said returning to LJES was “a fever dream. I feel like I shouldn’t be here but I should be here. It’s surreal.”

“Everybody looks so different,” Morrison said. “The kids look so tiny; I can’t believe I was that small when I was here.”

“I love this school,” Morrison added. “It’s such a good community here.” ◆