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Full Circle: Ashland Ranch Celebrates Seniors and Inspires Young Students

Full Circle: Ashland Ranch Celebrates Seniors and Inspires Young Students
Story by Tristan Chavez, Photos by Jonason Pauley
Ashland Ranch Senior Parade

Ashland Ranch Elementary celebrated its graduating alumni with a special Senior Celebration on Monday, May 20th, 2024. The event welcomed 40 graduating alumni back to Ashland Ranch’s campus, most of whom attended South Valley Jr. High and are graduating from Campo Verde High School, and aimed to inspire current elementary students by showcasing the path to graduation while celebrating the achievements of former students.

"For graduating seniors, this event brings their educational journey full circle. Their path began right here in elementary school," shared Dawn Valles, M.Ed., a Reading Specialist at Ashland Ranch Elementary. "As educators, we naturally wonder about our students’ successes after they move on. So, this celebration not only serves as a way for our current students to visualize their path to graduation; it's also for us to witness the incredible young adults they've become."

The celebration kicked off with a parade throughout the school's halls! Led by Rocco the Roadrunner, Ashland Ranch Elementary’s mascot, graduating seniors walked through the school, cheered on by current students with signs and high fives. Next, seniors visited classrooms to answer questions that students had about what their experience in high school might be like. They talked about coursework, college plans, and even how to deal with pre-graduation jitters. The seniors encouraged everyone to stay in school, attend class, and find their passion - whether it's sports, clubs, music, or another extracurricular activity. The event ended with seniors assisting with after-school pick-up and enjoying a reception that included food, drinks, a photo booth, and a slideshow of old yearbook photos.

Ashland Ranch Q and A with Graduating Seniors

"This event is super nostalgic," said Athan Ferber, a graduating senior at Campo Verde High School. "Being back on campus after all this time is surreal. Everything looks different, but the familiar scents brought back a lot of good memories. I'm incredibly grateful the school organized this. A lot of us went on different paths after attending Ashland Ranch, so it's been great catching up with old friends and teachers again."

This year, celebrating graduating seniors and their educational journey extended to multiple schools. Earlier this month, Highland High School hosted its inaugural "Feeder School Appreciation Day” which welcomed faculty and staff from their elementary and junior high schools to its campus. The event provided an opportunity for Highland High to express gratitude to these feeder schools for their impact in supporting and guiding graduating seniors throughout their K-12 education.

Gilbert Public Schools is dedicated to offering an education choice to students during their path to graduation. Each of the 39 Gilbert Public Schools offer unique educational and extracurricular opportunities that prepare students for their future. To learn more about each school, or to schedule a tour of a campus, visit

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