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MMS 8th graders move on to next chapter

Millbrook Middle School’s 76 eighth graders got a feel for their new school when they were celebrated during a graduation ceremony  June 23 at the high school auditorium.

Family, friends and school staff applauded as the students  graced the stage to accept their certificates. The audience was treated to a live rendition of “Pomp & Circumstance” by the Millbrook Combined Band during the processional.

Dylan Vasquez, who was named the eighth grade outstanding student, dedicated the student address to his fellow classmates who work hard and prove that a piece of paper only does not determine what an outstanding student is.

“I look around and see every single one of you as an outstanding student,” Vasquez said. “What we need to do is continue working as hard as we can to be as great as we can.”

Eighth grade science teacher Dawn Harkenrider, who’s retiring this year, gave students worthwhile advice such as being kind, learning from mistakes and not sweating the small stuff – the latter advice being repeated throughout her speech.

“Develop an internal moral and emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go,” Harkenrider said. “Friends and family are there to inspire and guide you, but ultimately you make the final decision.”

Ben Conklin is happy for the next step into high school because he will have more freedom to make decisions. He will miss his friends who are attending Our Lady of Lourdes in the fall.

“I hope we don’t fade away too much,” Conklin said. “I had a lot of good memories in middle school.”

What Makenna Freeswick will most miss about being at MMS is the great teachers she had including Jeffrey Barnes, who focuses on technology. In high school, she looks forward to making new friends and seeing her career take off.  

“I made a lot of good connections with all the teachers,” Freeswick said. “I’m happy, but also emotional about it.”