SUMMIT, NJ - The ceremony 'back home' its own athletic field, the Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School (LCJSMS) Class of 2016 completed their middle school journey in graduation ceremonies featuring 316 students.
After the traditional Pomp and Circumstance ushered in the graduates, LCJSMS Student Council President Kyra Guenther welcomed the large crowd assembled and led all in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Following the National Anthem, Student Council Vice President Jack Quinn introduced Superintendent of Schools June Chang, who told the graduates to take advantage of all that the next level of their Summit educational experience has to offer.
Michelle Yang, an Eighth Grader who accumulated the highest number of hours in the now legendary "Ryder's Challenge Community Service" initiative, both introduced Summit Mayor Nora Radest and was honored by the City's top elected official. Radest noted the positive impact of the students' cumulative community service commitment.
Abigail Thompson delivered a humorous, insightful take on life at the middle school, walking the audience through students' sixth, seventh, and eighth grade experiences in a presentation entitled "The Staircase to High School."
A musical interlude, "Seasons of Love" from Rent, featuring soloists Madeline Lumelleau, Kathryn Evenson, Maneesh Nemani, Jessica Noble, Owen McTernan, Christina Wilson, and Caroline Abut, was then followed with remarks by Yearbook Advisor Tara Weiss and Principal Damen Cooper.
Cooper presided over his first graduating ceremony, having joined the school in January of 2016. He said life's basics, such as being kind to each other, cleaning up after yourself, and holding hands when crossing the street, will serve students well as they move forward.