On June 22, eighth-graders at Robert M. Finley Middle School bid farewell to teachers and administrators during the school’s moving up ceremony, which was highlighted by musical performances and well wishes.
The ceremony began with the seventh-grade band playing “Pomp and Circumstance” as students processed into the school’s auditorium. It continued with Alex Beckhard-Suozzi leading those in attendance in the Pledge of Allegiance. Finley’s top two eighth-graders, Nicole Khaimov and Megan Fahey, addressed their classmates at the ceremony, as did Principal Nelson Iocolano. Iocolano used Nick Offerman’s book “Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers” as inspiration for his remarks to the graduates.
“I want to light the torch inside each and every one of you to be gutsy… gutsy troublemakers,” he said. “It’s my hope that you will come to understand that spirit and gumption are just as much, if not more, vital than any preconceived notions of success or achievement you may have. True bravery, real gumption is exemplified by taking one more step forward when everyone else stops moving.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Maria Rianna also addressed the graduating eighth-graders and their families, telling students they deserved this moment because they worked hard.
After Dr. Rianna’s comments, students were presented with certificates marking their completion of the eighth grade. They were also treated to a musical performance by eighth-grader Elena Ortiz-Moreno, who sang “Lean on Me,” and later enjoyed dancing and taking photos at the annual eighth-grade dance.