Moving Up

While the mood in John Jay Middle School’s auditorium may have been a bit more serious than the typical Moving Up ceremony—the result of not having a live audience of hundreds of parents—the outdoor celebration afterwards offered the perfect counterbalance of fun to the occasion.

There was pride in the room as classmates took leadership roles in the event. Madison Varriale wowed those present and those watching virtually with an a cappella rendition of the National Anthem. Student Council Co-Presidents Austin Omin and Matthew Denker acknowledged the students’ accomplishments that year. Fifty- two Presidential Award recipients stood as Assistant Principal Shantel Brooks read aloud a letter from President Biden congratulating them on their achievements.

Eighth Grade Counselor Annemarie MacSweeney brought a playful element to the gathering as she recounted the students’ last three years in Dr. Seussian rhyme that closed with:

Be kind, be inclusive and spread light wherever you go
And if you run into me at the plaza, you better say hello!

Students’ full attention stayed at the podium as Principal Jeff Swiatowicz gave closing remarks—his five tips for success. The last suggestion, be kind, included one last homework assignment of middle school; he asked the students to thank someone for the help, the friendship, the guidance they received this year.