F.E. Bellows Elementary School celebrated its 112 fifth graders during an in-person moving-up ceremony on June 16. Described by their principal as resilient, determined and adaptable heroes, the students bid farewell to their elementary school days before an audience of teachers, administrators, parents and friends.
In his remarks, Principal Michael Scarantino reflected on the students’ strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles, including navigating online learning, quarantining and wearing masks for 175 days.
“It takes mental toughness to accomplish that for so long,” Scarantino said. “What made it most impressive was they didn’t complain about it at all. They went about the tasks at hand: learning, leading and achieving because they knew these were the most important obstacles that they needed to overcome to be successful.”
He praised the students for their determination to complete their assignments, try their best in every subject and participate in remote Math Olympiad, book clubs and stock market game classes. He also encouraged them to take their resilience, determination, adaptability, independence and mindfulness on their next educational adventure as middle schoolers in the fall.
“They were determined to have the best fifth grade year possible and took advantage of every opportunity afforded to them,” he said. “They were fully aware of the obstacles they faced this year and calmly acknowledged and accepted the challenge. The most powerful heroes in the world are those who can master the art of mindfulness and they did it with ease.”
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro said the students are ready for new, exciting challenges and opportunities that await them at middle school, including being the first middle school class to enjoy a new gymnasium.
“When I think of your fifth grade year, I think about how different it was for you, but I am also reminded of the good things and how strong and resilient you were,” Dr. Ferraro said. “You adjusted quickly to new ways of teaching and learning and to staying connected with friends. Throughout it all, you were able to be positive and supportive of each other.”
Before the students were called one by one to receive their certificates, Rye Neck High School senior and valedictorian Gabriel Miller shared a few words of wisdom.
The ceremony concluded with a performance of “Better Day,” a moving-up song that was written by the students and music teacher Tom Galgano.