The 440 eighth graders at Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School were praised for their hard work and resilience this year and encouraged to take advantage of every opportunity in high school and beyond as they were celebrated during three moving up ceremonies Friday at Lakeland High School.
Principal Frank Ruolo urged students to remember the core values they learned in middle school: “Respect is earned and you must give it to receive it. Anything can be accomplished with hard work, and making mistakes is part of learning, so don’t be afraid of making them. It’s the only way you truly can grow.”
Encouraging students to reach for their dreams and full potential, he recited inspirational quotes: “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars and to change the world,” and “Life is not a spectator sport.”
“I have no doubt in your ability to reach for those stars, overcome obstacles and make the positive change our world needs,” Mr. Ruolo told the students.
Mr. Ruolo urged students to make new friends, go on new adventures and make amazing memories.
“The world is going to be a better place because of the smart, caring, well-rounded young adults you’ve become,” he said. “I am very proud of each and every one of you. Congratulations, Moving Up Class of 2021.”
Students also heard from Assistant Principal Jessica Stock, Superintendent Dr. Brendan Lyons and Michael Daly, president of the Board of Education.
Dr. Lyons said that while the primary reason for school is to learn academic subjects, “oftentimes, we forget that school is so much more than just the subjects on your report card. We forget about the other very valuable lessons that we learn from going to school.”
He noted that students may have learned to become more independent and self-directed, to share with those less fortunate, to take responsibility for their actions, and to coexist with others.
“As you move on to the high school and in life, these skills will be essential to your success and happiness,” Dr. Lyons said, adding: “You will make your mark on your high school. I have no doubt that you will make us all proud.”
Students crossed the stage to receive their moving up certificate from Mr. Ruolo as proud teachers, loved ones and fellow students cheered. The students walked out of the auditorium to “This Is Me” and went to the outdoor courtyard for photos with friends and loved ones.