There was an air of excitement about the SWBOCES Tappan Hill School June 14 as two students prepared to graduate and four participated in its middle school moving up exercises.
The ceremony, which took place in the school gymnasium, was aptly decorated for the event. A long table was set up with tasty snacks and a large celebratory cake. At the top of the room, the graduates’ photos were set up on a table with their diplomas and certificates nearby. Balloons decorated the area, as did a beautiful flower arrangement made especially for the occasion by Erroll Rivera’s students from the Tappan Hill Flower Shop.
The two graduates included Erick Guerrero and Jacqueline Principe. The students moving up to middle school were: Julia Cellante, Justin Grant, Rogelio James III and Anjanette Ramirez.
“This is a safe, loving school where everyone is your friend and where everyone helps each other,” said Principal Phyllis Rizzi to the parents and other well-wishers in the audience.
Before handing the graduates their diplomas and certificates, everyone was treated to a special musical performance by students at the school.
A slideshow of memories featuring various photos of the graduates, from when they were little right up to the present time, was played.
“We teach children how to respect each other; we see abilities, not disabilities,” added Ms. Rizzi. “Our students are the ones at Tappan Hill who make our days brighter, and so today, we look back at our graduates and students and enjoy the memories and celebrate their accomplishments.”
The younger students were the first to be recognized by their individual teachers.
“You really made my year,” said teacher Linda Christiansen, referring to little Julia, who she said, took her by surprise and started reading all by herself one day.
Speaking of her other student, Justin, Mrs. Christiansen referred to him as a “teacher’s dream.”
“You are a really happy go-lucky child. I wish you all the best in your new school,” she said. Referring to both students, she added, “I’m going to miss you both terribly. You have been my shining stars.”
Instructor Kathy Knudsen described Anjanette as the “student with the most nicknames” and a “shy little girl who was a great teacher’s helper.” She said she would miss her presence in the classroom.
Referring to RJ’s growth over the past few years, Mrs. Knudsen said, “I am so proud of the young man you have become.”