June 19, 2014 at 12:54 PM
BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Columbia Middle School's 219 eighth grade students celebrated their promotion to high school on Wednesday night in an outdoor ceremony at Gov. Livingston High School.
Superintendent Judith Rattner addressed the students with reflection and identified the importance of the monumental connections that have been developed through the years between family, teachers, friends and the world around them.
"As you leave Columbia, I believe you are far more equipped and enlightened to start your journey in a new direction with different people," said Rattner.
"I encourage you to climb the ladder to success but remember to always maintain your connection to the past," Rattner advised. "Maintain a balance between a time for learning and a time to play."
Nadine Trella [provided the Welcome Address] and Carl Heer [provided the Class Address] spoke of their three year experience at Columbia Middle School. Nadine compared her journey to the "Wizard of Oz" as they traveled along the 'Yellow and Blue Brick Road'. Carl compared the hard work at Columbia to riding a bike and the necessity to keep your balance to stay on track.
The Graduation Choir performed Seasons of Love. .be Video Credit Rachel Wintemberg
Principal Frank Geiger's remarks to the students provided advise to "propel them for a successful high school career." Geiger identified the ever popular "selfie" as the word of the year.
He cautioned the students of the "selfie" -- "As you look so closely to see yourself, things are going on around you that need your attention," said Geiger. "Over the next four years of your life, opportunities and learning experiences will come your way that have never been offered to a group your age. You won't see it if you're not looking." He told the students to be observant and turn the lense around and sharpen the focus.
Geiger quoted students' supportive notes by Chelsea Deegan and Max Charbonneau on the importance of friendship. Max's goal is to make more friends and to keep them close to his heart. Max's goal is not only for high school but a goal for life said Geiger. These quotes parallel the positive culture and chain reaction effect inspired by Rachel's Challenge, a program presented to this eighth grade class in the spring.
Geiger concluded with a message to the outgoing eighth graders: "Take time away from yourself and think of the others in your life. -- Keep your eyes open and work to find solutions to the things you see out of focus. You have the power to make a difference. Make your parents proud -- and most importantly, do something to make yourself proud of yourself."
Video Credits: GLHSTV