Rain, shine, sleet or snow, Marquette Catholic High School Principal Mike Slaughter walks the eight blocks from his home to school every day. But Thursday, the longtime educator’s final day with students, a surprise awaited him as he followed the red brick road home. As he turned the corner onto Langdon Street, Slaughter was greeted by dozens of students, staff and residents waving signs and carrying banners bearing the words “Thank you, Mr. Slaughter” and the principal’s traditional Friday sendoff, “Have fun, be safe and be smart.”

The 1974 graduate tells the Big Z what the school has meant to him over the years.

Click here for Slaughter's comments

Kiera Stagner, a 2020 graduate, says she saw how much the principal cared about students.

Click here for Stagner's comments

Co-organizer Mary Hough’s favorite part of the parade was seeing the look on the educator’s face when he saw the turnout for the parade.

Click here for Hough's comments

Slaughter is wrapping up a four-decade career at Marquette, with 16 years as principal. His official last day is June 30. Slaughter said he and his wife, Cindy, who just retired from Alton City Hall, don’t have any immediate plans for retirement.

Marquette will celebrate graduation for the Class of 2021 tonight (Fri) at Public School Stadium in Alton at 7pm.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio / www.AltonDailyNews.com)