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For Cheshire High School seniors, Wednesday evening was the anticipated day of graduation. On Tuesday morning, a much younger set of students took yet another step on their own road through the school system.
Cheshire elementary schools held their Promotion Day ceremonies on June 21, with each school — Chapman, Doolittle, Norton, and Highland — saying goodbye to the sixth grade class. The ceremonies included music, special awards, speeches, poetry readings, and, of course, the rewarding of certificates signifying that each student would be moving on to Dodd Middle School when August rolls around.
At each ceremony, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Greg Florio addresses their class and this year he told the students he had a very special announcement to make.
Holding up a huge binder, Florio explained that Connecticut had passed a new law changing the requirements for high school graduation. Students would need to complete a set of “homework” binders each year and ultimately make a final presentation as a senior at CHS, he informed the stunned onlookers.
“This is book one,” said Florio. “You'll get another book next summer. Isn't that exciting?”
Of course, Florio was only joking, and assured the students that they, in fact, did not have to do anything extra during the summer.
Turning more serious, however, Florio did explain that the students would have to keep their minds “sharp” during the course of the summer. He suggested they read, do a little writing, even try some difficult math problems all in the name of preparing for the following year.
“Middle school will be more challenging academically, it will be challenging in your social lives,” explained Florio. “Next year will begin a very special journey. You will come together with students from the other three schools to form the Class of 2017.”
Norton School Principal Mary Karas admitted that this particular sixth-grade class held special meaning for her. They entered the school the same year she took over the reins as principal.
“As they walked through the doors six years ago, that's when I began my time here as well,” said Karas, who indicated that, on her first day, she looked at all the wide-eyed students and realized “I was one of them.”
“I am so fortunate to have served these students and witness their growth and improvement over the years,” she concluded.
Doolittle School Principal Sharon Weirsman stated that Promotion Day was an opportunity to “celebrate a very special group.”
“I know you will enjoy your middle school years,” Weirsman told the group, “and I feel confident you have been well prepared.”
Weirsman also encouraged the students to “try everything” at the middle school and, also, to remember the lessons learned at Doolittle, including one that focuses on home.
“Remember to always talk to your parents,” she said.