Eighth Graders Finish Middle School Strong

Eighth Graders Finish Middle School Strong

After finishing up eighth grade, Wantagh Middle School’s newest graduates won’t have to go very far next year for high school. The bus will take them to and from the same street next year, but their experiences will be vastly different.

The middle school held its graduation ceremony for 224 eighth graders on June 12 in the gymnasium of their new school. Principal Anthony Ciuffo reflected on their achievements over the past three years, including the perseverance they demonstrated as they began middle school in 2020 at the height of the pandemic.

“This certainly was not an easy transition for you,” he told the graduates, “and I greatly admire how each of you persevered through these difficult times and made the best out of a bad situation. I am so happy that three years later, you’re able to participate in all of the exciting end-of-year activities.”

Mr. Ciuffo said that even as they turn into young men and women, they shouldn’t turn away from their beloved childhood activities – riding bikes, playing outside with friends, doing a cannonball into the pool, writing stories and drawing pictures. 

“Play is not a luxury, play is a necessity,” he said in his advice to the departing eighth graders. “High school can get stressful at times, and the work load will certainly increase, but be sure you make time for yourselves to just enjoy the things that you have always enjoyed as kid.”

Students speakers took their classmates on a journey of middle school. Nina Myers reflected on the challenges of sixth grade, when they came to a new school under pandemic restrictions, but finally got to experience middle school when they were allowed to change classes later in the year. Lauren Feuer looked back on a more normal seventh grade and the joy they had when the masks finally came off, and finally knowing her friends by their faces instead of their eyes.

Jackson Lehrer reminisced about this past year. Eighth grade memories included the pep rally, the Skittles vs. Starburst games, a great performance of the “Descendants” by the drama club and trips to Disney World with their musical groups. His advice to his fellow graduates was “stay curious and try new things.”

The final speaker, Mairead Hill-Hotz, looked ahead to high school. She said the future Wantagh High School Class of 2027 should feel confident to face new challenges.

“The path to Wantagh High School will open up a variety of opportunities,” she said. “While the next chapter may seem daunting, we won’t be facing this journey alone. By our side, we’ll have our family and friends to offer us advice, listen to our concerns and provide moments of laughter.”