Glen Meadow Middle School eighth graders celebrate their advancement

Vernon. After an abrupt end to their last year at Glen Meadow, 234 eighth graders are now headed for high school.

Vernon /
07 Aug 2020 | 03:40

At last, Glen Meadow Middle School eighth graders celebrated their Advancement Ceremony. The ceremony took place on Aug. 3 at the Vernon Township High School Macerino stadium. Parents sat together with their students on the football field.

“This is one of those great occasions when we get to celebrate our young people,” said Principal Rosemary Gebhardt during her address. “While the 2019-20 school year was cut short, 234 eighth graders advance to high school.”

All eighth graders were given an opportunity to write an essay for the Advancement Ceremony. From the dozens of essays submitted, Daniel Kim’s was chosen.

Daniel thanked God for bringing them together safely in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. He encouraged his classmates to realize how precious human lives are and the importance of family and community.

He acknowledged some that classmates lost loved ones because of the virus, and that, as a generation, they must overcome these circumstances.

They may be tempted to say their final school year was disappointing because of the coronavirus shutdown, Daniel said, but it was an opportunity to slow their lives down, be persistent in school work, even virtual learning, and learn to appreciate parents and siblings.

‘Burgeoning freshmen’

Gebhardt thanked all parents and guardians who have been challenged over the past few months and have become “home tutor extraordinaires.” She said parents and guardians are a child’s first and best teachers.

“You will continue to be the most important influence on your child,” she said.

Furthermore, she said, as their children enter their final years of public education, they will need them now more than ever. “The hard work is only beginning,” she said.

She also said that current events are reminders of the gift of education, “and what education does for all of us as a society.”

Gebhardt encouraged the “burgeoning freshmen” to take and apply the values learned while at Glen Meadow -- “The Glen Meadow Way: Respect yourselves and others. Take responsibility for your actions, and reach your 100 percent.”

Entering high school, she said, is an opportunity to “reboot.” She counseled the students to leave behind what did not work and step boldly into new course work, sports, clubs, the stage, Career Technical Education courses, and concurrent and Advanced Placement courses. She said, “Set goals. Study hard. Remember, you are investing in yourself with every test you take and every book you read. Become the best version of yourself. Recognize that you may have some roadblocks, and maybe even some failures. Take these as opportunities and learn from them.”

In conclusion, she said, “You are now ready to begin the final leg of formal education, as you move from being boys and girls to young men and women. Be a difference maker. Congratulations, good wishes, and good health, as you become the future graduating class of 2024.”

Awards and certificates

Awards were given for outstanding achievement for Citizenship, Physical Education, French, Spanish, Italian, Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. The Daughters of the American Revolution presented an award.

The Highest Overall Scholastic Achievement Award was given to Michael Evanick.

Assistant Principal Eric Kosek and Master of Ceremonies Marianne Amato gave certificates to each student. Each student’s name was read over the loudspeaker, and they came forward to have their photo taken. Later, a second photo was taken in front of a sign that said the “Glen Meadow Way.”

Gebhardt gave final congratulations to the future high school Class of 2024. “We are so proud of your hard work,” she said.

At the end, the students progressed off the field to “The Fanfare for the Common Man” by Aaron Copland.

Later, Gebhardt said, “They had an unusual, abrupt ending.”

Kosek said they were happy the students could advance as a whole class, sitting with their parents on the field, and that the weather cooperated.

Gebhardt said they thought it was meaningful to include the children with their parents, given the situation. Previously they had had a virtual advancement. Now, she said, the students had finally had the chance to say good bye to each other.

A couple of the students are going to Sussex Tech. Most of them are headed to Vernon Township High School.

“Set goals. Study hard. Remember, you are investing in yourself with every test you take and every book you read. Become the best version of yourself. Recognize that you may have some roadblocks, and maybe even some failures. Take these as opportunities and learn from them.” --Principal Rosemary Gebhardt