The Fell Charter School in Simpson celebrated two graduations on June 14. Kindergarten students in Ms. Elizabeth McGowan’s class and 8th grade students in Mr. Ross Donato’s class were honored at ceremonies at the school to mark the occasions.
The kindergarten graduation was slated to begin at 9:00 a.m., but traffic tie-ups due to the paving of Main St. in Simpson and Belmont St. in Carbondale delayed the ceremony for several minutes as Principal Mary Jo Walsh decided to allow extra travel time to families arriving along those routes.
The kindergarten graduation featured several charming songs and poems showcasing the children’s talents. Each child also had a brief individual speaking part, reciting rhyming couplets from memory in a display of cuteness that brought smiles to the faces of the proud family members gathered to watch the event. Many of the rhymes and songs promoted values, such as cooperation and kindness, that the school’s staff worked hard to instill in their young charges throughout the year.
Ms. Walsh, in her remarks to the audience, said, “We have a clear vision for our graduates. We want them to be academically prepared for life, but also to be good people.” Ms. Walsh stated that the kindergarteners are, among other things, cooperative, poised, and always do their best, and she cited Ms. McGowan, “a teacher who cares,” as a reason.
Ms. McGowan had only good things to say about her students. “They were honestly one of the best I ever had. The way they worked with one another was amazing! I don’t know if I ever saw kids who worked so well together as a unit. And, they enjoyed my obsession with Disney!” remarked Ms. McGowan, who wore Mickey Mouse ears on her head as she escorted her class into the gym for the ceremony.
Ms. Walsh handed out diplomas to the graduates, then the class as a whole moved their tassels to signify their new status as up-and-coming 1st graders. Afterwards, students, family, and school staff enjoyed graduation cake as they admired the kindergarten students’ artwork displayed on the gym walls and took pictures to create lasting memories of the happy day.
The 2018 kindergarten graduates of the Fell Charter School were Donte Benyard, Chase Bohlig, Jordan Bower, Emalee Boyes, Kimberlee Boyes, Benjamin Cadora, Felicity Clark, Hailey Elders, Jacob Holeva, Alexander Jacob, Mackenzie Jenkins, Callyn Loomis-Weller, Lena Macluskey, Daisy McGrath, Keely McPeek, Melania Monforte, Ilya Morse, and Dylan Oakley.
Later that day, another graduation took place at the school, but this time it was bittersweet for many. Family members, teachers, and staff watched proudly as the 8th grade class walked through the gymnasium and took their places onstage for the last time as Fell Charter School’s class of 2018.
After welcoming remarks from graduate Nicholas McCord, departing students Zachary Siggins and Cameron Titley introduced each member of the school’s staff, thanking them for their roles in preparing the students for high school. The ceremony continued with each student having speaking role, with many graduates mentioning how Fell Charter School prepared them not just academically but also by helping them to become better people.
“As I look at my class, I see potential,” said Reina Maldonado, addressing the audience. She urged her fellow graduates to “[m]ake the impossible possible. We all have the capacity for greatness and we can be anything we want. We have a great life ahead of us, so go live it!” she urged.
A slide show of photo memories from the students’ school days, the singing of “I’ll Be There For You” (the class song), and the dedication of the graduation to 6th grade teacher Jamie Seymour, called by the students “the most kind and understanding teacher in all our years,” were highlights of the program.
Diplomas were presented to the students by their teacher, Mr. Donato, and by Mrs. Sabrina Wagner, the school’s curriculum facilitator. After the event, graduation cake was served as people congratulated the newly-minted high schoolers for a job well done.
Members of the Fell Charter School 8th grade class of 2018 are Taylor Bambrick, Joshua Busalacchi, Tehya Dietrich, Leora Galaydick, Brock Gombita, Aunesty Hill, Reina Maldonado, Nicholas McCord, Ian Quintana, Zachary Siggins, Cameron Titley, Julia Webb, and Adam Wolfe.