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Newtown Middle School Eighth Graders Advance To High School In Moving-Up Ceremonies



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Newtown Middle School eighth grade students graduated during two Moving-Up Ceremonies held on Tuesday, June 11 at Newtown High School.

The annual Moving-Up Ceremonies act as a celebratory transition for NMS eighth graders as they advance to the high school. While the graduating class was split into two ceremonies, one for students in 8 Blue and another for students in 8 Purple and 8 Gold, they were mostly identical beyond certain students from their respective clusters speaking during their ceremony.

Family and friends filled the bleachers on both sides of the room, cheering the students as they entered the gymnasium to “Pomp and Circumstance.” NMS Principal Jim Ross beamed with pride as he welcomed the crowd to the event, saying he was “incredibly proud” of the students for their hard work and achievements.

“Tonight we have the honor and privilege of celebrating our Newtown Middle School Class of 2024 eighth grade students as they have reached another milestone in their educational journey,” Ross said. “We are so very proud of all of their accomplishments.”

Superintendent of Schools Chris Mellilo was then welcomed to the stage, where he said it was his “distinct honor” to stand before everyone to celebrate such a significant milestone in the lives of the eighth graders.

Mellilo continued, saying the day marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another, filled with opportunity and discovery.

“Remember that high school will bring challenge and opportunity, there will be moments in time where things don’t go as planned. And in those moments, remember the lessons you’ve learned in middle school about perseverance and resilience,” Mellilo said.

He encouraged students to trust in their ability to overcome whatever obstacles lie before them, and to continue to move forward no matter what. Mellilo also said he hopes students will be bold in their ambitions, be kind to one another, and continue being involved in their community.

“We are so proud of you and everything that you’ll accomplish, and we are excited to see what you’ll achieve in high school and beyond,” he said. “Dream big, work hard, and always remember that you have the power to make a difference.”

NMS Student Council Representatives Ali El-Awa and Olivia Rodriguez spoke next.

El-Awa encouraged his fellow students to think about the importance of serving the community and that creating small acts of kindness can have far-reaching effects.

“Helping others can bring you a level of joy that can’t be reached through any other means,” El-Awa said. “You don’t have to do something on a large scale; even the smallest changes can create a ripple in the community. Those small ripples can blossom into something bigger, something that can make a difference in not just our community, but in a larger community.”

Rodriguez told her fellow classmates that the school taught them to be resilient and that if they want to change their community, that they have to keep pushing through.

“Our time at NMS has taught us to get back up and try again. And as we move to high school, it’s important that we remember this so we can put our best foot forward to achieve our dreams no matter the setback. Stand up, wipe the dirt off, and try again,” Rodriguez said.

The ceremony then moved on to the awards recognition, where Ross and NMS Assistant Principal Brian Walsh announced the names of students who earned awards at the ceremony, including the names of those attending the other Moving-Up Ceremony. Awards included Cluster Academic Awards, the Lion’s Pride Award, and the President’s Award for Educational Excellence, among others .

Reflections by Cluster Student Representatives were also read at the end of each ceremony. Margaret Murphy spoke for 8 Blue at their ceremony, while Joshua Chokbengboune spoke for 8 Purple and Samantha Hoffert spoke for 8 Gold at theirs.

Graduating students then walked up to the front of the room and onto the stage for their moving up steps, shaking hands with Ross, Walsh, Mellilo, and Board of Education members with bright smiles on their faces.

Ross closed the ceremony by sending the eighth graders advice as they move onto their future endeavors. He told the students their class will always be remembered for their passion, courage, and resilience, and that these traits will take them far into life beyond the rigorous demands of school.

Ross hearkened to a quote from Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, stating, “you’ve always had the power my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

“When you are faced with pivotal decisions in life, look inward for the answers,” Ross continued. “Your inner voice is powerful. Trust that it will steer you in the right direction. When faced with hardships in life, realize that asking for help is not a weakness, but rather a strength.”

Ross wished the students a great summer and the best in all their future journeys as the audience once again applauded for the graduates and their achievements.

Reporter Jenna Visca can be reached at jenna@thebee.com.

Newtown Middle School students celebrated graduating from their school and advancing to the high school in two annual Moving-Up Ceremonies held at Newtown High School on Tuesday, June 11. —Bee Photo, Visca
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