‘I don’t want to leave’: Elementary schools’ last days bring tears and smiles

Jun 15, 2023

School’s out for summer, an occasion marked by students across town running out of the elementary schools and saying goodbye to their classmates and teachers.

On the afternoon of June 14, students shared hugs goodbye with their classmates, while others shed tears leaving a school they’ve spent almost half their lives at.

“I’m sad and excited [for summer],” said rising 4th grader at Potter Elementary Rachel Hall. “I don’t want to leave.”

Before Donna Desroches picked up her granddaughter, Elliana Ruiru, from her last day of school, she expected her to be “so excited to be out of the summer.”

But minutes later, Ruiru showed up with tears in her eyes.

“I just don’t want to leave,” Ruiru said.

Principal of Potter School, Richard Porter chalks up the tears to “the relationships they have with everyone here.”

“[The teachers] joke, but we’re also serious, that this is our happy place,” Porter said.

The students’ love for their teachers and administrators was on display as the school buses pulled away: students stretched their arms out of the windows to wave goodbye to their favorite staff members.

DeMello School sent their students off in a similar fashion with a school bus motorcade around the parking lot.

Students waved out the bus windows while screaming “no more school” and “I’ll miss you” to their teachers. Other students looked out the windows with tears streaming down their cheeks.

DeMello’s staff stood on the sidewalk waving goodbye, holding signs that spelled out “have a great summer.”

“It was a wonderful year, I couldn’t have chosen a better school,” said Adam Hill, DeMello’s assistant principal who was new to DeMello at the beginning of the school year.

Despite a jam packed school year, the students at DeMello had a range of plans for the summer, including swimming and trips to grandmas.

“I might go to Water Wizz, and I’ll go to my friend's birthday party, and I’m also going camping,” said Trever Carvalho, a rising fifth grader at DeMello.

Quinn Elementary School students celebrated the last day with their tradition of “clapping out” the fifth grade students. 

Students from kindergarten to fourth grade lined the halls to cheer for the fifth grade students while they barrelled down the halls giving high fives left and right. 

This year the clap out was led by third grade teacher Susan Bishop and occupational therapist Kathleen Baldwin who are both retiring this year. 

Like at the other schools, not all students were thrilled to see their peers go. 

“The sense of community as I watch kindergarten students hugging their fifth grade helpers with tears because they have made lasting connections is heartwarming to see,” said Audra Thomas, assistant principal at Quinn. “We are going to miss these kids and these two amazing educators and for them to be recognized in a fun way is pretty cool to see.”