Finley eighth-graders celebrated their accomplishments and bid farewell to teachers and administrators at their moving up ceremony on June 24.
Family members watched with pride as the students processed into the Wunsch Auditorium for the ceremony, which was highlighted by performances from the seventh-grade band and eighth-grade chorus. Eighth-grade students Paige Callaghan, Tara Coelho and Alondra Schuck, the Class of 2015’s top three students, delivered heartfelt remarks to their classmates. Schuck focused on the past, while Callaghan and Coelho spoke of the present and future, respectively.
“Over the past three years, we have met countless new people, made priceless memories and learned enough to last a lifetime,” Coelho said. “Twenty years from now, it will not matter how I did on a test or what I wore to school, but what will matter are the memories I’ve made in my middle school years. In this school, I’ve laughed more times than anyone can count and I’ve smiled enough to overpower a million frowns.”
Principal Nelson Iocolano told students it was his honor and privilege to be part of their journey for the last three years. He also spoke about the obstacles they may face in the years to come.
“Obstacles are something that we will all face at different points in our lives,” he said. “The difference between a more fulfilled life and one that’s less fulfilled often has to do with how we deal with obstacles.”
Iocolano shared the story of Daniel Kish. Kish has been blind since he was 13 months old and is an expert in echolocation, which allows him to mountain bike, camp, cook and travel all over the world. Despite Kish’s accomplishments, he has received a lack of support from every mainstream blind organization in America.
“Since Daniel was a child, he has done something I hope all of the students here will do. Pay no attention to those who say you can’t, you shouldn’t or you won’t. Never let other people’s limited thinking limit your thinking.”
Also in attendance was Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction and Technology Dr. Michael Israel and Superintendent of Schools Maria Rianna. Rianna offered advice to the graduates as they prepare to take their place at Glen Cove High School in the fall.
“School definitely counts,” Rianna said. “You are now on your way to a place that you will make your own. You have worked hard to get there, some harder than others, but as you take your courses over the next four years, please remember this: Each time you do better, each time you earn a good grade, each time you choose to take a class that is new or challenging, you’re making a mature, responsible decision to give yourself an opportunity.”
After the ceremony concluded, the eighth-graders enjoyed their last dance at Finley.