LIVINGSTON, NJ - Livingston fifth graders said goodbye to their elementary schools on Friday, as they moved onto middle school.

Burnet Hill, Harrison, and Hillside Elementary Schools held awards assemblies, while Collins, Riker Hill, and Mount Pleasant Elementary schools held events acknowledging students were moving up from fifth grade.

“This is one of the finest fifth-grade classes I’ve ever seen in eight years of being a principal,” remarked John Leister, Collins Elementary School’s Principal.

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Mr. Leister added that the fifth grade of the 2012-2013 had “excellent student leadership.” He also recalled that students were introduced to an ongoing theme teaching them the importance of kindness and respect, which was a success. Students wrote about, and talked about, kindness and respect throughout the year.

“They set the tone for the school, and it was a really strong year” he stated.

Of the incoming fifth graders, Principal Leister said, “Like this class, they need to focus on trying, respect, and working hard.”

Mr. Leister also had advice for parents. “Parents are the most important teachers” he remarked, before adding that, “Parents and teachers need to partner on behalf of kids, and need to partner whether there are academic issues, emotional issues, family issues, we need to work together and communicate on behalf of kids.”

Fifth graders at the Collins Elementary School reflected on the past year, while looking to the future. They also had advice for fourth graders who will move onto fifth grade in the fall.

“My favorite part about fifth grade was being older, more mature, and we had to lead the younger kids,” remarked Karen.

Amanda said of fifth grade that, “It’s not very easy, but it’s not as hard as it seems.”

Jessica remarked that her favorite part of being in fifth grade was “getting to switch classes.”

Nicole stated that in middle school, her hope is, “for the teachers to like me, to be successful with good grades.”

Karen had advice for those who will replace her in fifth grade next year. “You should really open up to new friends, because you probably won’t go out of fifth grade with the people you went into it,” she stated.

Daria also had advice for fourth graders who will be entering fifth grade in the fall. “You should just be who you are,” she said.