CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was a bittersweet first day of school at Mary Carroll High School, the last first day in the school’s 66 year history.
Next fall, students and staff move to a new Carroll High School, on Saratoga Blvd.
Everyone, students and staff alike, were definitely excited to be back, but at the same time they realized they were starting a long goodbye with a school that's been their home.
“It's exciting, I'm glad to see so many Tigers back,” said principal Robert Arredondo.
Arredondo is starting his first year as principal at his alma mater. For him, the first day was more than exciting, it was also emotional.
“Just being back home at my campus, it looks and feels the same,” said Arredondo. “There's so much nostalgia.”
Mary Carroll High School opened in 1955. Arredondo graduated from in 1995, he’s been on staff since 2007. That's a lot of first days, many more than junior Xavier Ruiz, who also felt nostalgic.
“It's kind of overwhelming to know this is the last time I'm going to step foot on these floors,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz, like many of his classmates, had his time at Carroll cut short by the pandemic, so his plan is to make the most of the time he has left there.
“It's kind of a bittersweet moment to know that we're not going to be here for much longer, but it also encourages us to be the best that we can,” said Ruiz.
Ruiz saw some of his classmates today for the first time in a year and a half, a scenario which played out across campus.
“I can for sure see their happiness to see their friends again, to feel the wind,” said Ruiz. That wind is part of what makes Mary Carroll High School unique. The school is one of the last in CCISD to feature outdoor hallways.
“That's the beauty of Carroll,” said Arredondo. “You have beautiful, decades-old trees and green areas, and that's healthy.”
The tradition on campus is also healthy.
Some of it will move to the new campus, including the designs painted onto the hallway ceilings by past senior classes. Arredondo says scans will be taken and the designs will be reproduced at the new school.