ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Students and staff at Arcola Elementary School had a special surprise for their principal on Thursday as she retires from her 32-year career in education.

Angie Gentry went to school in and graduated from the Arcola School District before going on to work there as an adult. She spent 18 years as a teacher and then 14 as a principal, all while sending her own six children through the school district.

But her time at the school is coming to a close, and students got a chance to say goodbye by lining the hallways as she walked through.

Gentry said it was a complete surprise, courtesy of a well-timed distraction from her boss.

“My assistant principal told me that the superintendent wanted to meet with us first thing in the morning,” Gentry said. “So we headed to his office, which gave everybody time to get out into the hallways. And then when we got close to his office, she got a call, supposedly from him, who had to reschedule our meeting. So then we headed back.”

It was as she was walking back to her office that Gentry started to hear Hannah Montana’s “I’ll Always Remember You” on a portable speaker. She turned a corner and saw the student tunnel.

“There was a moment of feeling a little awkward and not knowing for sure if it was supposed to be for me or what I was supposed to do,” Gentry said with a laugh. “Then I realized quickly enough that that’s what I was supposed to do.”

All of the students from sixth grade down to Kindergarten were lined up in the halls, applauding her as she walked past. One of the students early in the walk reached for a high five, which prompted the rest to follow suit. One of the younger students took it a step further and gave Gentry a hug.

“It made me feel very special. It was very touching and I loved it,” she said. “I still get emotional thinking about it or talking about it. I have watched the videos several times myself. Each time it just brings tears to my eyes.”

Gentry said she is looking forward to a slower pace in retirement and doing things she hasn’t had time to do. That includes traveling, giving her house a deep cleaning, reading for pleasure as opposed to work and spending time with her family.

But she will miss her students and staff.

“Any time I would have a bad day, I could just be around students and it was just quick pick-me-up,” Gentry said. “I am going to miss the staff; I’m going to miss almost everything about it.”

School officials video of the walk to Facebook and many took the opportunity in the comments to wish Gentry luck in retirement and to thank her for her years of service.