SPOTSWOOD, NJ - It wasn't so long ago that the Memorial Middle School class of 2018 was starting their first day at Schoenly. Those teary-eyed early kindergarten days quickly turned to a first grade moving up ceremony. Then, it was on to Appleby and field days, Mr. Bartlett's introduction to band night, recorder concerts and of course Mr. Chris and the fifth grade play. Many of this year's eighth grade graduating class donned mermaid and fish tails to dive under the sea for "Little Mermaid Jr." before coming to Memorial to take their inaugural tour. From locker nervousness to sports and drama tryouts to student government to clubs and going from one main teacher to five plus, the Memorial Class of 2018 walked into the Spotswood High School Gymnasium on June 19 and left the Spotswood High School Class of 2022.

Valedictorian Timothy Smith spoke of watching his older sister receive honors awards at her Memorial Middle School graduation three years ago and being motivated by that to succeed during his tenure at the sixth, seventh and eighth grade school. Smith certainly excelled inside and outside of the classroom, finishing with the highest grade point average in Memorial. Classmate Jason Acheampong was the salutatorian, completing his Memorial career with the second highest GPA. Smith received the Lillian Mortimer Award for the highest scholastic average in every subject area while Acheampong earned the Sptoswood Education Association Award for the student with the second highest average in the school.

In addition, there were many eighth graders who earned academic, artistic, athletic, community service, citizenship and leadership honors for their contributions while at Memorial. The following students were honored during last night's graduation ceremony with special awards:

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  • Dakota Lewis - Language Arts Literacy Award
  • Jason Rizzo - Mathematics Honors Award
  • Jason Acheampong - Science Honors Award
  • Timothy Smith - Social Studies Honors Award
  • Kirti Craig and Jared Huryk - Physical Education Honors Award
  • Bryan Chan and Meghan Ansbro - Health Honors Award
  • William Loschiavo and Gianna Perez - Drama Honors Award
  • Allie He and Axelle Lemiere - Band Honors Award
  • Jenna Cia and Jordana Zeron - Chorus Honors Award
  • Allie He and Kyle Rogero - Art Honors Award
  • Jason Rizzo and Lindsay Solomon - Computer Honors Award
  • Melody Dzergoski and Timothy Smith - Spanish Honors Award
  • Palma LoPiccolo - Timothy Vitale Award for significant social and academic progress
  • Joseph Spicuzzo - NJHS Award for the National Junior Honor Society member who has been the greatest assistance to the Spotswood PTA
  • Bryan Chan and Lauren Kim - Fine Arts Music Award
  • Christian Martinez and Carissa Moscoso - Fine Arts Art Award
  • Sean Ignotis, Hassan Khan, Lauren Kim, Thaddeus Kowalski, Jason Rizzo and Lindsay Solomon - Perfect Attendance Award
  • Jason Acheampong and Allie He - Student Council Award
  • Jason Acheampong, Bryan Chan, Melody Dzergoski, Owen Hahner and Lauren Kim - Presidential Academic Fitness for Educational Excellence Award
  • Kevin Agostisi, Nicholas Andre, Meghan Ansbro, Denise Carroll, Emily Case,  Courtney Dougherty, Veronica Grego, Juliana Handwerk, Allie He, Hassan Khan, Axelle Lemiere, Hari Nair, Giana Oelkes, Jason Rizzo, Charles Schumacher-Wallace, Elita Seifin, Connor Smith and Timothy Smith - Presidential Academic Fitness for Educational Achievement Award
  • Tony Caron, Kirti Craig, Elvis Morales Montes, Jared Huryk and Ethan Williams - Prime Physical Fitness Award
  • Owen Hahner - Kathleen Mulligan Award for the student showing outstanding leadership, cooperation and participation while at Memorial
  • Megan Casper - Michael Gonzalez Citizenship Award for the student who has shown outstanding citizenship behavior through school and community service
  • Jared Huryk and Giana Oelkers - Scholar/Athlete Award
  • Chloe Buffalino - Community Service Award
  • Allie He - Michael Shkolar Poetry Award
  • Lauren Kim and Naomi Roy - Most Involved Award for the students who participate in several extra curricular activities, have good attendance, a positive attitude and willingness to help
  • Hari Nair and Jason Rizzio - Colts Character Award for the students who have impressed the Memorial staff with an exemplary attitude, good character, model work ethic and serve as positive role models for their peers

Sixth and seventh grade members of the Memorial Middle School's Concert Band under the direction of Memorial's Band and Musical Director Christina Restine provided the traditional "Pomp And Circumstance" march for the eighth graders as they completed their graduation procession in and out of the gymnasium.

Schoenly School held their moving up ceremonies last week while the Appleby School will graduate its fifth graders on the last day of school in the Spotswood School District today during school hours. Spotswood High School's Class of 2018 will receive their diplomas this evening at the Spotswood High School Gymnasium. It will be the final Charger graduation for Spotswood High School Principal Thomas Calder. Calder is retiring at the end of the month.

While tonight's 6 p.m. June 20 graduation will be Calder's last, Memorial's June 19 graduation was the first for Memorial Middle School Principal Brian Kitchin. Memorial's Class of 2018 will join eighth grade graduates of Miltlown's Joyce Kilmer School and the Immaculate Conception School in Spotswood High School in September, making up the Class of 2022.