Kyle Zins was not only last in line at last Thursday's graduation at Valley Crossing Community School, he was also the final sixth-grader of the final sixth-grade class to graduate.
Dressed in a purple "Class of 2016" T-shirt, Zins, 12, stood at the end of the line of some 90 graduates, waiting his turn to mount the steps to the stage and shake hands with Principal Lela Olson.
Changes are in store for the school, whose unique approach to learning includes multi-age instruction and use of an "open classroom" model.
School District 833 has ended a 20-year partnership by purchasing the elementary school building in Woodbury from partner districts Stillwater and North St. Paul-Oakdale-Maplewood. South Washington County Schools will take over the school July 1.
Prior to the ceremony last week, kids, staff, teachers and parents were shown a video of a baby squirrel trying to scale a wall. The little guy was finally able to do so when human passerby gave him a boost by propping backpacks and bags against the wall.
Olson used the example to illustrate the importance of perseverance and of lending a helping hand to one another.
"When you confront a challenge, like the squirrel, take a chance," she said. "Have confidence and try to overcome the obstacle."
Fifth-graders, wearing blue T-shirts, also took part in the ceremony.