KEIZER, OR (KPTV) - As high school seniors in the Salem-Keizer School District approached graduation, some took time to send a message of hope to their younger peers.

At Keizer Elementary, seniors from McNary High School received a warm reception, with K-5 students celebrating their accomplishment of earning a high school diploma.

"It's also a way for little kids to want to graduate and see themselves in that blue gown and cap," said Lizi Aguilar-Nelson, Keizer Elementary's Principal.

Rebekah Grimmer returned to the halls of her elementary school reflecting on the past year she spent learning through the pandemic.

Graduates from Salem-Keizer School District send hopeful message to younger students

Image: KPTV

"I think I've missed out on a little bit because of COVID. Just being able to see every teacher at school, it's a lot different. And when everyone has their mask on, you can't really see who's smiling. You can't tell how people are and how they're feeling," said Grimmer.

Friendships had to be adjusted, and sports and activities put on hold.

Grimmer just recently started her senior basketball season.

"Getting back out there and being able to play and have games again definitely made me realize what I was missing, and missing the family bonds you create with all your teammates," said Grimmer.

But in her interactions with younger students, Grimmer brought a message of optimism and perseverance.

"I think it's great to see what you can become," said Grimmer. "We were able to fight through it and we were able to get towards the end."

Grimmer will be going on to Chemeketa Community College in the fall, with hopes of going on to a career in law enforcement.

Copyright 2021 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.

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