Updated: Wednesday, 03 Jun 2009, 12:48 PM EDT
Published : Tuesday, 02 Jun 2009, 11:46 PM EDT
WESTFIELD, Ind. (WISH) - Ron Hunter, the basketball coach at IUPUI, is proving to be a great recruiter. He's also recognized for his ability to remind people that charity is a bare necessity.
Westfield High School graduates decided to bring attention to Coach Hunter's charity and walk barefoot as they received their diplomas.
"I thought that it would be a really cool idea to have our class do one last thing. A unified step towards awareness, compassion for other people, and that this would be a really good way to do it," Westfield senior Hannah Adams said.
Graduation became a shoes optional event in honor of Samaritans Feet. That's the program Coach Hunter has promoted coaching barefoot to help put shoes on needy children around the world.
Adams asked her principal whether her class could graduate barefoot.
"Every time I think they can't surprise me, they do," said Westfield High School Principal Stacy McGuire.
Principal McGuire can be pretty straight-laced about tradition at graduation. But, this time, even she went barefoot.
"I think it's very important to meet the needs of the kids because it's their graduation and if this is what they want to do and how they want to make their mark on the school and the community, you have to take that into account," McGuire explained.
They collected an array of Crocs before Tuesday night's ceremony and hoped graduation would attract more shoes or at least cash to buy them.
Hannah hopes it inspires her fellow graduates, "That's really my vision for it all. (It) is just taking a step out in awareness and our first step into the real world as adults, one being of compassion and service to others."
Principal McGuire hopes the graduating classes that follow this one are as willing to reach out and are as aware of the world. That's a tradition she'd like to see even if next year's class prefers to wear shoes at graduation.
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