"I know what I want to be when I grow up. I want to be an entertainer," she recalled him saying.
He was in third grade.
"That was what he wanted. That was it," Katie Chiklis said.
Former teacher and coach Bob King said even in high school people could see his talent and versatility.
"Mike could play anything. He could play a 5-year-old boy or a 90-year-old Greek woman," King said.
Chiklis was well known at high school as a football player as well as an actor, but sometimes the two crossed. Former coach and teacher Dick Bordelais said Chiklis was the only student who could make people laugh while they were getting grilled before practice by coach Dick Collins.
Bordelais peeked over one time and saw Chiklis matching his coach's mannerisms and speeches with amazing accuracy.
"He was doing Dick Collins better than Dick Collins," Bordelais said. "I knew he wouldn't go far in football. But I knew he would do well in Hollywood."
Collins had his own way of dealing with the young actor for misbehaving.
"Chiklis! Up the hill!" he turned and yelled at his former student yesterday, just like he used to when he sent him running as punishment.
After the speeches, the crowd filled in around Chiklis, who stayed until every person got the handshake, hug or autograph they came for. Some clutched "The Shield" or "Commish" DVDs. Others knew him from his role as The Thing in the The Fantastic Four movies.
Keri Harris hovered around the back of the crowd with her daughter, Emma.
"I dated Michael in junior high," she said. "I haven't seen him since high school, so I thought I would come say 'Hi.'"
She said he was a funny guy who used to love disco dancing and would act out the moves from "Saturday Night Fever."