NEWTON, NJ-- Halsted Middle School celebrated the Class of 2017 eighth grade promotion ceremony Friday, June 16 at 6 p.m. in the Newton High School auditorium.

Families, friends and faculty gathered into the auditorium to watch the eighth graders get promoted to high school students, becoming Newton High School’s Class of 2021.

The band, directed by Halsted’s band and choir director Kara Hartzell played “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar as the students processed onto the stage.

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Student Council President and Valedictorian, Elissar Abou-Jaoude, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance and the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.

The theme of the ceremony this year was “Taking Chances." Three students including Abou-Jaoude read speeches that went along with the theme.

“A Social Journey” was read by Katrina Pascale, which emphasized the family that was created by the eighth graders and how they each learned from each other throughout their years in Halsted together by taking a chance on one another.

Then “Our Voyage” was read by Daniel Baer, which talked about the unique voyage that the graduating class of 2017 went on, including the many accomplishments they achieved throughout the year.

Choir members that were leaving Halsted sang the song “One Call Away” by Charlie Puth, arranged by Alan Billingsley. The band, along with those eighth graders that were leaving, played the song “The Great."

After the choir members sang, Abou-Jaoude read “The Next Step,” which discussed taking risks and how the class of 2017 overcame obstacles.

“We realized that sometimes by not succeeding we learned, it was ok. It showed that there was an effort and that we can learn from these previous mistakes. Failing only means to fall down and to stay down, but success means to take some chances and pick ourselves back up.”

Principal of Halsted, Kristi Green, gave the students some insider information when it came to taking risks.

“Sometimes taking chances and seizing an opportunity may look a lot like hard work…I always took chances and seized the opportunity and used what I learned during those experiences as a stepping stone to whatever came up next in life.”

Green then presented the class of 2017 to the Superintendent, Dr. G Kennedy Greene, who said a few words before the students received their certificates.

“All are united in the idea that life involves putting yourself out there. So it’s about chances, opportunities, circumstances. Of course you realize there are no guarantees, but if you think about putting yourself outside your comfort zones, you can increase the likelihood of success, raise the odds, so to speak, by preparing as best as you can to reduce the risks involved in taking chances. That even if things don’t work out exactly as you planned, we can put ourselves in the best position to pivot towards the next opportunity.”

The Class of 2017 roll call was done by Angela Dunbar, the Assistant Principal at Halsted Middle School. She was accompanied by Board of Education President Stella Dunn and Board of Education Vice President Jessica Egner.

Board member Guilene Ham were also present on stage to give her daughters her diplomas. After all the names were read, the students exited to “Ride”, written by Twenty One Pilots, and arranged by Victor Lopez.  

82 students graduated in the Class of 2017, on Friday June 16. While Halsted Middle School will no longer be home to these students, Newton High School opens its doors to them.

Halsted Middle School Class of 2017

*NJHS Students                                                        ** Student Council Officers

 Elissar Abou-Jaoude***, Ambi-Noelle Jordan Adjobi, Luzmary Arias, Daniel Robert Baer, Brett Allen Bergey, Jesus Blanco-Chavez, Amya Nicole Boyce, Itzel Carbajal-Cinto, Cassie Marie Carovillano, Dana Nicole Catalano, Gia Hitixhe Chavarria, Taya Michelle Christiano, Jordan Rose Cross, Sarah Marie Davidson, Jack Christian DeGresero, Julianna Desirea DeLarosa, Sebastian Luca De Leon, Jarod Michael DeMauro, Cara Shea Dolan, Anthony John Dvorsky, Erika Lynn Ehrenberg, Kelly Alexandra Ellsworth, Jillian Anne Faines, Aaron Richard Fantasia, Amy Elizabeth Fehr, Anjali Kaitlyn Fernandes, Andrik Garcia, Justin Thomas Ghaleb, Angelica C Gonzalez, Abigail Rose Gormley, Danielle Sophia Ham, Dezarae Harding, Edward James Holder, Hailey Elizabeth Holmberg, Xavier David Izquierdo II, Parker Robert Kalaydjian, Damian Matthias Karakasanis, Sarah Grace King*, Madison Camille Latimer, Daniella Marie LoCascio, Noah James Garcia Logan, Anthony Michael Martinez, Christopher Jeffrey Martinez, Jenna Lynn Martinez**, Christopher Daniel McConnell, Katelyn Nicole McDade***, Brian Joseph McKeown, Rebecca Lyn McNulty*, Morgan Lily Medunick, Ella Allen Molkenthin, Julissa Carolina Montenegro, Shane William Nannery, Hayden Grace O’Sullivan, Rodman Angel Osorio, Jabari Oxley, Cecelia Isabelle Paparella**, Katrina Marie Pascale*, Kira Alexis Pascale*, Ryan Matthew Penny*, Naya Celeste Pereira, Kelly Mariana Perez, Konstantinos Protogeropoulos, Caroline Raghubir, Izabel L Rios, Christopher Alfredo Sanchez, Aden Matthew Sathuthiti, Robert James Schmidt, Paige Anne Schmitt, Kailey Rose Sevean, Madison Marie Sliker, Austin John Smith, Shane Christopher Snellen, Christina Lauren Spinelli, Donovan Edward Thomas, Jordan Christopher Tognetti, Jacob Tyler Tonking, Irene V Toro, Darwin J Vargas, Katlen Weng, Cloie Wilgus, Morgyn Lorraine Witt*, John Wilhelm Yazdanfar