BLOOMFIELD, NJ — Bloomfield Middle School promoted its eighth-graders on Thursday, June 21, in two separate proceedings. One group of students were given their certificates in the gym. The other half of the class were handed theirs in the auditorium about five minutes later. Together, 481 students became high school freshmen.
Principal Alla Vayda-Manzo told the students that the night before, while thinking about what to say, her thoughts were a balance of inspiration and sentimentality.
“Maybe you didn’t start a revolution,” she said, “but you did go through middle school.”
She told her departing students that it is a certainty that they will leave a footprint.
“Make it one of kindness,” she said.
Superintendent of Schools Sal Goncalves began his congratulatory remarks with his traditional declaration.
“It’s good to be a Bengal!” he shouted.
He told the students they would hear that chant for the next four years.
“And you will be prepared because of your teachers,” he said.Goncalves then thanked the parents.
“There is nothing you cannot accomplish,” he told the students, “and you’re a good-looking group of people.”
The keynote address in the auditorium proceeding was given by eighth-grader Isabella Olaya.
“The opportunities at Bloomfield Middle School were expansive,” she said. “We learned more about life. We learned about procrastination. It’s not like in elementary school. Everyone must agree that middle school is not an easy time.”
Isabella said that while high school may seem intimidating, her classmates had their friendships to support and guide them.
The closing remark was given by Assistant Principal Annette Baker. She quoted the actor Denzel Washington.
“I found nothing in life is worth anything if it didn’t involve risk. Fall forward.”
— Photos and text by Daniel Jackovino