After the ceremony was pushed back an hour, the sun filled the Schreiber high school field as parents, friends, teachers and administrators looked on as 434 Weber eighth graders were promoted to freshmen at Schreiber High School.
“Today marks that point in time where we look back on our middle school experience and shift our perspective to the opportunities that are ahead of us in high school,” said Weber Principal Christopher Shields. “I hope you feel more confident as an independent learner as you graduate. It is often hard to measure, but I hope you feel you have become stronger emotionally and you have developed skills socially to connect with both adults and your peers.”
Selected eighth grade students sang the National Anthem under the direction of Matthew Gawronski just before speeches were given by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kathleen Mooney, President of the Board of Education Karen Sloan and selected eighth grade speaker Mollie Tashlik.
Mooney utilized Issac Newton’s three laws of motion—the first being an object at rest stays at rest or an object in motion stays in motion, the second being the greater force applied to the object, the greater the acceleration and the third being that for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction—to tell the students to get involved at Schreiber and to “never underestimate the power a kind word or gesture can have.”
Tashlik reminiced on the last three years the class of 2018 had at Weber Middle School, explaining that the first year—“the first piece of the middle school puzzle”— was spent learning to “navigate not only the hallways but our schedules” and just figure “out how to open a combination lock.” By the second year, Tashlik said the students felt as though they were dropped into a foreign country and that after being guided throughout the first year, they were “expected to be pros.”
“The concept of independence was something many of us were unsure of and struggled with,” said Tashlik. “By the end of year two we had grown up even more, becoming more responsible and independent and feeling proud of our accomplishments.”
She went on to talk about the class of 2018’s final year at Weber, stating it was as though they were in a different universe.
“Our teachers encouraged us, pushed us and made us work extremely hard,” said Tashlik. “At first this seemed almost impossible. It took a lot of time, most of the year actually to finally master. We learned so much over the course of these many months like how to write a research paper, how to properly give a presentation and most importantly we learned the one skill essential in high school. We learned how to be our own unique best selves.”
Tashlik echoed Mooney’s sentiments, expressing that while the class of 2018 has grown academically, they have learned valuable lessons as people to be kind, respect and accept one another.
“For the next four years and beyond we will use these life and school skills to do extraordinary things and become extraordinary people,” said Tashlik just before each house—green, blue, red and yellow—walked across the stage to accept their promotion certificates.