East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School held its eighth-grade moving up ceremony on June 20.
The evening began with a performance by the middle school chorus, under the direction of teacher Ms. Seanna Silver. Principal Mr. Neil Lederer then opened with a speech reflecting on his own middle school graduation and offered advice about the benefits of hard work.
During the ceremony, students Madeleine Prucha and Sofia Valdebenito were honored for highest overall academic achievement, while students Emily McLaughlin and Jason Miller were recognized for demonstrating outstanding character and service to the school and community with the Senator Kaminsky Award for Junior Public Service and Leadership. Winners of the middle school poetry contest, Nolan Anarelli, Sophia Capone and Emily McLaughlin, shared their original pieces, then members of the middle school faculty presented moving up certificates to the rising ninth-grade students.
Two high school seniors, who were carefully chosen to speak at the ceremony, delivered outstanding speeches, which included heartfelt words of wisdom for the soon-to-be high schoolers. Rachel O’Hagan challenged students to always consider how they want to be remembered and discussed the importance of demonstrating kindness, establishing positive relationships, getting involved and making the most of their academic experience. Andrew Machovec then shared how the experience in high school can be viewed as a flight. He told students to begin their journey with a good flight plan, select strong co-pilots and passengers and enjoy the great ride while preparing for and overcoming turbulence.
The evening concluded with a slideshow consisting of images of eighth-grade memories created by teacher Mr. Don Poland, and a welcome to high school speech by Director of Guidance Mr. Andrew Rosenberg.