MORRISTOWN, NJ - On Tuesday night, Frelinghuysen Middle School hosted its recognition ceremony to honor all the 8th graders who will moving onto the high school in September. Taking place at The William G. Mennen Sports Arena, families and friends packed the stadium for the ceremony.

Following the singing of the national anthem and the school’s alma mater, Principal Joseph Uglialoro addressed the class and offered them valuable advice for the future. With his 25th high school reunion approaching, he reflected on his life since graduation and some of the lessons he’s learned over the years.

“While visiting my childhood home this weekend, my son came across my middle school yearbook, from 1988” he said. “As I looked at my picture I saw this awkward eighth grader with his whole life ahead of him.”

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As he thought about all the lessons he learned since that photo was taken, he decided to create a “survival kit” for surviving high school which he shared with the students. It included a stick of gum to remind students to “stick” to their goals, an eraser to remind them that we all make mistakes, a rubber band to remind students to “bounce back” after coming across challenges, Smarties candies to remind students that being smart is not always something you are born with, it's something you become, and a Kind Bar because the world needs a lot more kindness.

Following the presentation of multiple awards including the Morris County Superintendent’s award, which was awarded to Olivia Kemper, and the American Presidential Award which was awarded to Luke Chilson, Kelly Pohan and Lance Davis, Carigan McGuinn addressed the graduating class on behalf of the student council.

Looking back on her first day of sixth grade, McGuinn reflected on the many feelings she and the other students felt, especially how nervous and excited they were. As they prepare to enter into high school, she hopes everyone will use what was learned in middle school to to make a difference in the world.

“Over these past three years, we have learned to be responsible and caring and although we don’t know what the next four years will bring, middle school has taught us to be the best we can be,” she said.