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Roosevelt Middle School Graduates 222

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Roosevelt Middle School graduated 222 students on June 18, in a ceremony held for the first time in the gym at West Orange High School.

The National Anthem was performed by band students under the direction of Roger Bryson. Principal Lionel Hush stepped to the podium and welcomed students and families.

"Welcome to the promotion of the Roosevelt Middle School class of 2024," Hush began.

"For many parents, this event is a pinnacle moment as you are here to witness all your hard work come to fruition. While some of you are here simply to witness a miracle because, through your prayers, there is a child graduating today. For some of you, this is your first middle-school-aged child passing through the gauntlet of early adolescence. But many you are what we would call veterans. Veterans of the battle-ridden years of middle school in which you have gained an understanding of how your cute and cuddly babies turned into unrecognizable creatures once they turned 13," he noted.

"Whether you are new to middle school or you are battle-ridden, at this point you know all too well the meaning of patience, as you have been tried numerous times by their new-found attitudes, or your last-minute trips to school to sign a permission slip that they knew about for a month but called you the day it was due, or despite you getting them a phone they just had to have, you can’t reach them when you need to because their battery died from sneaking text messages to their friends that they sit next to all day," he continued.

"I congratulate you all for making it this far. And know that it’s through your good graces that they made it. They have made it to the end of a chapter in their lives and now set out to begin the next. Whether they are your eldest or your baby, the lessons learned will help prepare them for the real world. There are some outstanding young people in this class. Individuals that truly care: care for others, care for their community, and care for their futures. Though everyone’s story is different, the caring nature of so many of our children has remained constant. They have faced challenges, rolled with changes, suffered losses, celebrated victories, and witnessed the ugly our world displays. Through it all, they came to Roosevelt each and every day and laughed, loved, and cared for each other and their teachers in a way that inspires. As adults, we should all be proud. Not just proud of the beautiful child or children you have brought this far, but proud of the fact that the world changes for the better with good people raising their children right, and though they may not always show it - so many of these kids exemplify just that," he explained.

Turning to the graduates, Hush said, "When you figure out who you are and what you want to do, manifest it. Devote your life to it. Most people who manifest their path end up doing what they say they are going to do and become what they say they are going to become. They are relentless in their journey, with no days off, no whining, and no excuses. When obstacles present themselves, conquer them. When setbacks happen (and they will), do NOT see them as things that happen TO you, but as things that happened FOR you. They happen not to stop you, but for you to grow from them, take from them, learn from them. Lay out short-term goals that will help you reach your long-term success and navigate them fiercely, only finding pathways forward. Use the challenges and obstacles life brings to strengthen your determination to do more and be more. And never allow the doubt or disbelief of jealous individuals to discourage your dreams. It will be hard at times. You will face moments that will wear you down, moments that will make you doubt yourself, moments that will make you want to give up. It is at these points that your true desire for success will be seen. Fight through the fatigue and continue forward. Many of you have the strength and ability to blaze a trail so bright that you can affect society and truly make a difference that is so desperately needed. Don't allow others' views or opinions of you to define you or divert you from your path. Walk your walk towards success, staying true to yourself. Your true authentic self. I look forward to the success stories you are to become," he concluded.

The Roosevelt Choir performed "I See Stars" under the direction of Choir teacher Colleen Martin, and Principal Hush then announced the names of the special Roosevelt awards given out yearly to outstanding graduates.

MAYOR’S CITIZEN AWARD -  Awards students that exemplify good citizenship in both the Roosevelt community and the surrounding community. This award is presented by Mayor Susan McCartney to students who are great citizens of our community. This year's recipients are India McLean and Angelina Butler

JACK RAMSAY MEMORIAL AWARD FOR ART -  Jack Ramsay was a passionate artist with a recognizably unique style that worked to achieve the artistic talents of our youth. This award is given to students who have the same enthusiasm and love for art as Mr. Ramsay did. This year's recipients are Lucy Polhamus and Noah Jaeger-Thomas

BETTY LOU HARDY MEMORIAL AWARD FOR CREATIVE WRITING -  Betty Lou Hardy was a spirited English teacher that took tremendous pride in developing writers in our community. This award is presented to students who love and excel at creative writing, especially poetry in the spirit of Ms. Hardy. This year's recipients are Fatima Leye, Maya Szymanski, and Maya Hatcher

CAROL SADLER MEMORIAL KINDNESS OF HEART AWARD - Carol Sadler was a caring guidance counselor who gave a great deal of herself to the children at Roosevelt. We continue to honor her spirit by recognizing students who have a caring and kind soul, as Carol Sadler did. This year's recipients are Cleiry Hercules Pineada and Keyli Morales Alavez

STUDENT TO WATCH AWARD -  This award was created when Roosevelt was awarded a School to Watch for our academic offerings and rigor, extracurricular programs, and our overall success as a middle school. This award is presented to students who are well-rounded and have high aspirations for their future. This year's recipients are Taylor Esson and Brody LaBanca

 ROOSEVELT MIDDLE SCHOOL AWARD OF EXCELLENCE - This award is given to students who have achieved excellence academically and socially during their years at Roosevelt Middle School, and are students that exemplify the true character of Roosevelt Middle School in every way. This year's recipients are Adelyn Leigh, Nathaniel Nardini, and Dulce Garcia Marroqui

Students who received grades of A/B or straight A for their two years at Roosevelt were awarded the President’s Education Award for educational achievement.

Assistant Principal Olivia Betances then read the names of graduates as they received their diplomas, ending the ceremony on a high note as families met their graduates on the soccer field for photos and congratulations.




Principal Lionel Hush and Superintendent Hayden Moore


The band performs the National Anthem


Principal Lionel Hush and Assistant Principal Olivia Betances


The choir performs "I See Stars"


Diplomas are awarded


Cynthia Cumming
June 20, 2024