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Elementary celebrates last day of school (video)

By Carolina Astrain
May 30, 2013 at 12:30 a.m.

Mariah Monroy, 10, dances in the fifth-grade performance in the last-day-of-school parade at Torres Elementary School in Victoria.

Mary Ester Gonzales, 64, of Somerset, squinted in the morning sun to see her 8-year-old grandson, Garrett Gonzales, within the waves of students lining the pavement outside Torres Elementary School.

She and her husband, Roger Gonzales Sr., made the two-hour drive Wednesday night from Somerset, 20 miles south of San Antonio, to see Garrett dance in the school's parade celebrating the final day of school.

"He was so very excited about today," the grandmother said. "For the parade but also because it's the last day of school."

More than 500 students participated in the fourth annual last-day-of-school promenade.

The streets surrounding the school were thickly bordered with spectator vehicles, which had overwhelmed the school's parking lot almost an hour before the 8:30 a.m. performance.

The parade opened with a handful of students in go-karts zipping across a strip of empty parking lot and followed by a Victoria Fire Department fire truck, a Victoria County Sheriff's Office patrol car with deputies from the G.R.E.A.T. gang resistance program and the Guardians of the Ribbon pink fire truck.

Julia Gonzales, a first-grade teacher at Torres, was asked to come up and sign the bright pink fire truck.

The show's coordinator and retiring third-grade teacher, Susan Wheeler, was honored during the parade with a ride in a red Mustang convertible. Her silver tiara twinkled as Wheeler waved to her students and colleagues.

"This is just a really fun way for the kids to feel included," she said.

Veronica Salazar, 35, and her husband Bernardo Salazar, 44, grasped their phones tightly as they recorded their son, Kenneth Salazar, wiggle his arms to AC/DC's "You Shook Me All Night Long" with the rest of his kindergarten class.

"Last year, we missed this because my dad was very sick," the mother said. "But we're here now to support and cheer on our kids."

A train of other parents slid through the front row, doing their best to get every single moment on camera.

"This is going to be his last year here before my son moves his family back to San Antonio," Mary Ester Gonzales said. "We're excited about them moving closer to us, but I know we'll miss coming to Victoria for these type of events. They don't do this sort of stuff where we're from."



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