Students clad in black robes and orange tassels gathered at the Wednesday evening for the promotion ceremony. The graduates exuded excitement and showed some jitters as they prepared for new experiences as incoming freshmen at .
“I’m excited for the new changes that high school has to offer,” said eighth grade graduate Julian Castro. “It’s been fun, and we’ve come so far. It’s great knowing that all these people who were there from the beginning are now here for our middle school graduation.”
According to principal Rosemary Giacomelli of Lewis F. Cole, the students are graduating with a strong sense of character and judgment. She values the “social and emotional wellbeing” of her students as preparation for not only their high school careers, but all of their future endeavors.
“It’s important that they learn how to accept differences and how to be friends to one another,” Giacomelli said of the graduating class. “They need to learn how to live in harmony and enjoy what everyone has to share.”
As graduates plan to spend their summer according to their respective agendas, they took a look back at the memories that made middle school the experience it was for them. Stephanie Kim and Zaina Laaroussi agreed that some of their fondest memories were school trips.
“Sharp Reservation, Boston and Dorney Park were fun trips that brought us closer,” said Stephanie Kim, who plans to take summer courses for placement in a geometry class in the upcoming school year.
Zaina Laaroussi, who will be spending her summer playing soccer and basketball for Fort Lee recreational teams, said, “Field Day was an amazing experience that made the Class of 2012 into a stronger team.”
A number of faculty and staff were present to support the graduates. Lewis F. Cole Middle School custodian and Union Representative Joe Cappellini was in charge of arranging the seating for the relatives and friends who attended the ceremony. Despite a recent cutback in custodial staff, Capellini said his team gets the job done with no complaints.
“When it’s time to do a job, we get it done,” Cappellini said. “There’s nobody out of place; everybody knows their tune.”
As the Fort Lee community sends the middle school Class of 2012 off to high school, Interim Superintendant of Fort Lee schools Steven Engravalle encourages students to take advantage of a liberal arts education and to become entrenched in the community.
“Get involved and make the most of every opportunity,” Engravalle said to the graduating class. “Fort Lee offers something for everyone’s interest, so just try it all, because in the end, you have nothing to lose.”