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Ruby Bridges Hosts Annual Senior Assembly May 26

Last week, former Ruby Stars, almost entirely from Encinal Junior Senior High School, returned to Ruby Bridges Elementary School one last time to impart secondary school wisdom to the fifth-grade students during their annual Senior Assembly.

Each year, the number of returning students continues to grow. This year, the Stars welcomed a record-breaking 28 seniors "to hand off the baton- the baton of successful learning, building positive friendships, meeting academic challenges, multiple teachers and demands, and survival beyond elementary school," said Ruby Bridges principal Danielle Pharr-Matthews, "As graduating seniors, they offer this valuable advice and motivation to our promoting 5th-grade students while fostering a sense of belonging to a greater community."

The assembly started in the MPR with curious fifth graders asking lots of good questions, such as:

Is homework hard?

Are there fun events?

Does every grade get better?

Before breaking up into smaller groups, the graduating seniors heard from Principal Pharr-Matthews and their former Ruby Bridges educators. They were also surprised by their former principal, Cheryl Wilson.

Afterward, seniors joined fifth-graders in their classrooms to ask more specific questions about topics ranging from sports to relationships to coding opportunities. The graduating seniors also shared advice on issues fifth-graders didn't think to ask about, like the importance of being on time and staying true to yourself.

Rising 5th graders across AUSD have many opportunities to learn about the middle school experience during the year. They can attend information nights and orientations and hear advice from their current teachers or family members. Several staff members reiterated that the senior event at Ruby is unique, however, because the returning Stars have lived a part of their experience.

"It brings us together as a community because some of those children are siblings, and some of those children had a hard time when they were here," said Glenda Machrus, who organizes the assembly each year, "So to see them up there and going to college makes the staff feel like all of our efforts are worthwhile. Everything we put into this is for a purpose, to see the child move on, to do well."