Advice pleases middle school parents

Surrounding Principal Kate Palumbo are essay writers Catherine Lawrence and Justin Vreeland. Both of them spoke at the June 21 Moving Up Exercises at the middle school.

Surrounding Principal Kate Palumbo are essay writers Catherine Lawrence and Justin Vreeland. Both of them spoke at the June 21 Moving Up Exercises at the middle school.

Did parents influence Mrs. Polumbo? After welcoming the guests at the Wednesday night moving up ceremony, the middle school principal addressed the eighth-graders. “You’re leaving us taller, funnier and smarter than when you entered,” she said.

She advised the students to be “humble and kind,” and to “clean their rooms” — which got a laugh of appreciation from the fathers and mothers in the audience.

There were other light moments on Wednesday night. Superintendent of Schools Neal Miller offered a humorous look at his junior high school days. In seventh and eighth-grades, he wore a collared shirt and a short sleeve sweater every day. He felt self-conscious without them.

That wasn’t too bad in the fall and winter, but in the spring the temperature in southern California was a constant 90 degrees. The outfit provided him with the sense of security a turtle feels inside its shell.

“Try to be like a turtle,” Mr. Miller told the students, “at ease in your own shell…. Be who you are, love who you are, and know that you are unique.”

Catherine Lawrence echoed that theme in the essay she read to the audience. “Never conceal your true self,” she advised her classmates. She also spoke to them about bullying, admitting that at sometime everyone has been guilty of it. “Blowing out someone’s candle,” she said, “doesn’t make your own shine brighter.”

Justin Vreeland, the other essayist, drew applause in the middle of his speech. He raised his hand as if he was giving a stop signal. “I’m not done yet,” he said, and everyone laughed.

They also laughed when he concluded his speech by saying “Good Morning, Cornwall” in a way that would have made Robin Williams proud.

Justin thanked the faculty for inspiring him to learn, and for encouraging him to audition for a play, and go out for a sport. Thanks are customary at a moving-up ceremony. And before the end of the night, Mrs. Polumbo humorously thanked “the person who was responsible for the weather.” Although the forecast said “rain,” the skies were clear and the ceremony was held outdoors.

AWARDS

NYS Comptroller’s Award: Joshua Sandler and Michael Giardina
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Triple C Award: Jizelle Dorego and Eliana Bulusan
Stephanie Rose Award: Justin Vreeland
Principal’s Award: Zachary Hommel and Lily Klein
Sand’s Award: Kathryn Gagnon

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Ken Cashman