Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. It may not seem like much of a journey, moving on from eighth grade to ninth grade, but it can seem like a formidable challenge. After all, it is the same building and one advances with one’s peers.
But. There are new teachers and older kids. After finally reaching the top as fifth graders and then again as eighth graders, the freshman will suddenly be at the bottom again, struggling to achieve their goals. It is an intimidating prospect, but the 2017 class of eight graders have proven they are up to the task. They are a creative, spunky bunch of Panthers who are athletic, smart and talented; they are funny and energetic and filled with optimism.
This class of 44 students was honored last Friday in the Eighth Grade Continuation celebration at the high school.
Beginning with the eighth grade orchestra’s performance of “Let it Go,” the prelude was followed by the processional, “Pomp and Circumstance,” which brought the eighth graders, fizzing with excitement, bouncing down the aisles to take their seats.
The eighth grade choir then sang the National Anthem.
Nederland Middle Senior High School counselor Kristin Wagner and principal Carrie Yantzer welcomed the parents and families. Yantzer told the eighth graders that “everyone matters every time.” She told the teens to build on their strengths and talents. She said the Class of 2017 reminded her of fireworks and they should ignite the night and shine.
The Presidential Awards for Academics were then presented to Blue and Gold Club achievers. The Blue Club was for students with a 3.3-3.7 grade point average for the first semester and the Gold Club was for students with a 3.8-4.0 gpa.
Blue Club: Aspen Abel, Jessi Duncan, Carmela Hessner, Clay Kress, Sydney Nation, Parker Newby, Kodiak Palmer, and Madeline Prince.
Gold Club: Maya Beauvineau, Alexandra Berumen-Gonzalez, Jacob DeLong, Meagan Figgins, Courtney Horton, Rylee Kutscher, Abigail Lanthier, Sydney Mayhew, Clementine Miller, Elysia Nitsch, Isabella Sink and Katelyn Stanton.
Class speakers were Maya Beauvineau, Abigail Lanthier and Sydney Mayhew.
Sydney told her classmates that this was an opportunity to do their best and that mountain schools were special. “Where else do you have a snow day on the last day of school?”
Sydney Mayhew said, “It is time to try to figure out who you are and who you want to be. We have to think about starting over and building a bond between us and the teachers. We will look back on this and cringe, and then we will smile.”
Abigail Lanthier told her classmates that in seventh grade they were like the middle child of the middle school. “This is the class that loves a lively conversation. We have many lessons in life. I hope for all the teachers who are leaving that you will find joy.”
The eighth graders then received diplomas and settled in to watch the slide show of their last three years in Nederland Middle School.
(Originally published in the June , 2017 print edition of The Mountain-Ear.)