TAYLORS—The class of 2010 has been the one to watch — and follow and emulate — since Prince of Peace School first opened eight years ago.
They were the first to walk through the doors, the first to serve on student council or safety patrol, and on May 26, they will be the first to graduate.
Prince of Peace started in 2002 with kindergarten and first and second grade. At that time, there were five students in the second grade. Over the years, the class has grown to the lucky 13 that will receive diplomas during a graduation ceremony at the church.
Michael Pennell, principal, and the teachers who have watched them grow, said it will be an event filled with joy and excitement, but with shades of sadness too.
“These students are important to us because they were the trailblazers,” Pennell said.
He added that their parents were the ones to take the idea for a school and turn it into a reality.
Like their parents, the first class of Prince of Peace has been the leaders, creating a model of school spirit, academic achievement and faith.
“This class never saw it until they did it,” Pennell said. “That’s why we have such great respect and admiration for them.”
Chris Martinez said she started as their “everything” teacher in fourth grade, and has taught their English classes every year since.
“It’s rewarding in such a big way because you’ve seen them grow up,” Martinez said. “Truly, I’m going to be very sad to see this class go.”
She and the class reminisced about their time together, including field trips and practical jokes. When Martinez asked what they remembered most, several yelled out “Drama!”
In this case, they were talking about theater drama, and not the everyday teenage variety. The students performed their first play last year and are currently working on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
“I’m a nervous wreck, but they’re great,” Martinez said.
To commemorate their graduation, the eighth graders will dig up the time capsule that they buried when the school first opened, Pennell said.
They will also exit the building for the last time in parade fashion, with the underclassmen lining the halls to cheer them on, and parents in carpool line honking their horns and making lots of noise.
“We’re just sending them off in as grand a fashion as we can because we’re just so proud of them,” Pennell said.
Graduation festivities will begin with Mass at 11 a.m., followed by the ceremony and a luncheon at the church hall.