NMS Eighth Graders Move Up
Newtown Middle School eighth grade students graduated at the school’s two Moving-Up Ceremonies held on June 14 in Newtown High School’s gymnasium.
The 2022 NMS eighth grade graduating class was divided into two groups to host the ceremonies. The events were designed to be identical, but with a portion of the student body and their loved ones attending one event and the rest attending the other.
As family members were filling the gymnasium’s bleachers, NMS Principal Tom Einhorn, who is retiring, said the day’s ceremonies were “bittersweet.”
“I wish this group of students all the best as they journey on to high school ... And we are so proud of them,” said Einhorn, moments before the first ceremony began.
Superintendent of Schools Dr Lorrie Rodrigue offered congratulatory remarks for the students and shared that the best “coaching” comes from within.
Rodrigue recommended that the students reflect on their strengths and remain positive, even when things are not smooth.
The students have remained engaged in school despite adversity, the superintendent said, further noting the students have what it takes for resiliency and success.
“When you arrive at the high school as freshmen, get involved. Find something you are passionate about,” Rodrigue told the students. Later she said, “There are plenty of opportunities and pathways at the high school to inspire you.”
Rodrigue said the students should remember to “enjoy this moment,” and they should thank the teachers, school staff, counselors, and their parents and caregivers who have supported them.
“Have a wonderful summer, and congratulations to all of you,” said Rodrigue.
NMS Student Council Representatives Alesha Malik and Stephen Mammola then spoke.
Alesha thanked everyone who made NMS a better place, and she specifically thanked certain teachers for actions or, in one case, for “existing.”
While it is time for the eighth grade graduates to “move on to high school,” Alesha told the students to “never forget where you started and where you came from.”
Before congratulating the future high school graduating class of 2026, Stephen motivated his fellow eighth grade graduates by saying, “We are the next generation and the ones who will lead.”
NMS Assistant Principal Jim Ross announced the names of students who earned awards at the ceremony, including the names of students who were attending the second Moving-Up Ceremony event. Cluster representatives also spoke at the ceremonies. At the first ceremony Leah Morris spoke for Cluster 8 Blue, and at the second ceremony Andrew Stango spoke for Cluster 8 Purple and John Meade spoke for Cluster 8 Red.
Leah shared that it is okay if the students do not know what they want to do when they grow up; rather, she added, “what is important is we stay strong and know that we are not alone.”
Before the event ended, Ross thanked Einhorn for being an “outstanding principal” and wished him well in retirement.
Then Einhorn offered the closing remarks after students “graduated” by walking up to the front of the event to be recognized by teachers, Board of Education members, NMS leaders, and Rodrigue. Instead of shaking hands the students offered fist bumps as they walked across the front area of the event.
“Your middle school years have been filled with changes and challenges,” Einhorn said. “And look at you now, at all you have accomplished. We are so incredibly proud of you and wish you all the best. Congratulations.”
Education Editor Eliza Hallabeck can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.