MONTVILLE, NJ - At the 65th Annual Robert R. Lazar Middle School Promotion Ceremony, 269 eighth grade students of the Class of 2022 became high school freshmen. The highly anticipated event was held on Wednesday, June 20, at Montville Township High School. Lazar was named a National School of Character in May by Character.org. As the district’s only middle school, it is one of seven Montville Township Public Schools. Montville Township Public Schools was also named a National District of Character.
“Tonight we celebrate your promotion to 9th grade,” said Principal Michael Pasciuto. “We reflect back on your time in middle school and we acknowledge that academics, athletics, participation in the arts, your role in our Character Ed program, and other things are all worth celebrating.”
The promotion ceremony for the Class of 2022 is the first Pasciuto has presided over since his arrival in the Montville Township Public Schools district in July 2017.
Pasciuto asked the students to always get back up when life knocks them down, noting that he is proud of the confidence with which the class handles life’s hardships.
“As you move forward, find your purpose. In the words of Joe Rogan, ‘be the hero of your own movie.’ Ask yourself, ‘what is my why?’
· Write down your goals - - otherwise they are just thoughts
· Hold yourself accountable - - don’t blame others
· Reflect on what you can do better - - Never be afraid to fail
· Take care of your body...your mind….and your relationships everyday….”
President of the Lazar Student Council Adit Terapanthi led the Pledge of Allegiance and addressed his peers.
“There were many highs and lows throughout middle school,” Terapanthi said, “but, our perseverance and determination is the reason we never gave up. I am here to tell the Class of 2022 to never give up…. Lazar has provided a solid base for the rest of our lives…. We will be able to accomplish anything.”
Several students also received awards during the Promotion Ceremony including:
- Grace Laurito who received the The Lynette Berdej Memorial Award. This award is given in memory of Lynette Berdej, who spent many wonderful years teaching at Lazar. It is awarded to a student who embodies the qualities of compassion, determination, kindness and integrity.
- The recipient of two awards, Jakub Garbien took home the Todd Perrella Memorial Award and the Lazar Determination Award. The Todd Perrella Memorial Award is presented to a student who demonstrates determination and courage in the face of adversity. The Lazar School Determination Award is given to a student who, through determination, has succeeded and demonstrated substantial improvement during the three years in attendance at Lazar.
- Santina DiBenedetto received the Michelle Sullivan Memorial Award. This monetary award is given to the eighth grade girl who reflects and embodies the very special qualities of Michelle Sullivan: A gentle, good-natured individual; responsible and diligent in work habits; a sensitive, involved and helpful peer; a well-rounded school citizen who participates in all aspects of life at the Robert R. Lazar Middle School. Michelle Sullivan was also a conscientious and empathetic individual.
- Sicilia Amoia-Logalbo received The Carol Lazar Snyder Memorial Award. This award is presented in memory of Carol Lazar Snyder, daughter of Robert R. Lazar, a former Montville administrator. It is presented to a student who embodies the qualities of the Lazar-Snyder family: kindness, generosity, helpfulness and well-rounded school citizenship.
- Alyssa Neff and Christopher Wu each received a Heroism Award. This monetary award is presented on behalf of the Pine Brook Volunteer Fire Department to two individuals who can be described as honorable, good organizers, good leaders, and students with outstanding character who volunteer their time to help others.
- Chad Berry and Annalisa Bio each received the Sportsmanship Award. Donated by the Montville Township Recreation Commission, the Sportsmanship Award is presented to a girl and a boy who consistently embody outstanding qualities of good sportsmanship.
- Riya Jain received The Morris County Superintendent’s Middle School Leadership Award. This award is presented to a graduating middle school student whose actions and deeds represent a model of citizenship and leadership in their school community. This individual has had a positive impact on the school environment and serves as role model for others through academic, extracurricular and community leadership activities.
- Jake Cassidy and Chloe Gurin each received The Robert R. Lazar Middle School Service Award. This award is presented to two students who have made outstanding contributions in service to the Robert R. Lazar Middle School community.
- Kiera McDonald is the recipient of the inaugural Lazar Principal’s Leadership Award. This award is new to Lazar in 2018. It is given to the child who is a good student, a good leader, supports the school community, and exhibits the qualities of a well-rounded person. The name of each year’s winner will be engraved onto a nameplate and placed on a plaque in the main lobby of Robert R. Lazar Middle School.
“One of the most important aspects of middle school life is learning how to navigate social relationships while developing our unique interests,” Pascuito explained when presenting Kiera McDonald with the first Lazar Principal’s Leadership Award. “Along with this process, as educators and parents it is our hope that children not only learn new things about themselves, but they also mature along the way. Perhaps more importantly, we hope that they grow into kind, caring, and empathetic people, who stand up for their beliefs and for the good of others. This student possess all of these qualities, and many more. In addition to achieving academically, her strong voice and sense of self make her stand out as a leader. Evident in her active roles in a wide range of activities, she has been a driving force for change and acceptance in our school. As a fitting end to her time at Lazar, this year she took on a leadership role with our mindfulness group, Mind/Body Connection. Here, she co-led peers in practicing yoga and mindfulness within the school and community. Because of her quiet strength and her ability to guide others, students who took part in her leadership sessions benefited greatly and had fun in the process. Additionally, she promoted mindfulness on LNN with “Mindful Mondays”. In this segment, she shared a mindful tip for students to carry with them throughout the day.”
The rising freshmen began the ceremony by processing into the MTHS gymnasium to Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as played by the Lazar Symphonic Band. Under the direction of music teacher Chelsea Stebbins, the band also played the “Star Spangled Banner” and a recessional rendition of “Trumpet Voluntary” by Clarke.
Class Advisors Suezette Given and Ellen Parmentier welcomed the graduates and their families.
While family members lined the bleachers on both sides of the room, additional audience members viewed the program on closed circuit monitors in the auditorium and cafeteria. The ceremony was also streamed LIVE on the Montville Township Public Schools Facebook page.
Superintendent Dr. René Rovtar, Montville Township Board of Education President Charles Grau and Principal Michael Pasciuto shook the hand of each graduate as selected members of the class read the names of their peers.