The rain may have caused Blue Mountain Middle School to hold its eighth grade Moving Up ceremony indoors on June 21, but nothing could dim the excitement of students and families as they filed into the gym to celebrate the milestone event.
Principal John Owens, who is retiring in August after 17 years in the district, summed up the past few years under the pandemic, from remote learning and masks to social distancing. He expressed his amazement at the students’ ability to take these monumental changes in stride. “Through it all, you demonstrated perseverance and resiliency,” he said.
Owens also took a moment to introduce Lauren Scollins, who will be taking the helm as middle school principal next year.
In his opening remarks, Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter noted that, for these eighth graders, every year of middle school was touched by the pandemic. “Your grit, positive attitude and ability to adjust are important qualities that will lead to success at high school and in life,” he said, adding, “You didn’t just get the job done. You excelled.”
Other speakers included eighth grade counselor Beth Gagné and student government advisor Anthony Vetrano. Vetrano recognized student government President Mariella Mills and Vice President Shawn O'Mara and encouraged them to continue demonstrating their leadership skills in high school.
Three students addressed their classmates and teachers, reading speeches that had been submitted and selected by a panel at the school: Manuela Carvajal Henao, Lexi Corcoran and George Garica Sagastume.
Prelude and processional music were performed by the 7th grade band, under the direction of music teacher Katherine Filatov.