Eighth-Graders Move Up


More than 450 eighth-graders from H.B. Thompson and South Woods transitioned to Syosset High School when they participated in their respective moving up ceremonies at the Tilles Center at LIU Post.

Addressing the more than 250 members of the HBT Middle School Class of 2016, eighth-grader Abigail Blick told her fellow classmates, “Today is where your book begins.” This was the theme for the HBT 2016 promotion ceremony, as Abigail called upon the class to write their own stories in life.

“As of now, all of our books are mysteries, but it is up to you to determine how your book is written,” she said, referencing genres of romance, drama and fantasy in which dreams come true as possibilities to fill the pages. “Will your book be science fiction? Will you go to space? Will you cure cancer? How will you leave your imprint on the world?”

Offering additional messages of inspiration and confidence were Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Rogers, Board of Education Vice President April Neuendorf and trustee Andrew Feldman. Principal James Kassebaum thanked the parents, HBT faculty and staff and students, urging the latter to take the positive experiences and knowledge gained from middle school and use them to write successful futures in high school and beyond.

“Your decisions in life will influence your future and the ending of your book,” said Kassebaum, who, in keeping with the theme, predicted many best sellers. “Ahead at the high school await many exciting opportunities in your education and participation in the many co-curricular activities and sports. All of these opportunities will further your personal growth, which we have been proud to witness here at HBT.”

Before the more than 200 members of the South Woods Middle School Class of 2016 were officially promoted to Syosset High School, Principal Michelle Burget cited the group’s many accomplishments, including academics, athletics and, most notably, outreach to others in the community.

“Local hunger…we fought it. Dress others for success… you accomplished it. Replenishing New York’s blood supply…you stepped in and encouraged adults to provide. Crushing obstacles at BraveBolt so children fighting illness won’t face nearly as many…you did that too,” said Burget. “You have truly, truly committed yourselves to the principles of South Woods CARES: compassion, awareness, respect, empathy and service. And you have certainly demonstrated that you possess the courage necessary to achieve the biggest goals, the loftiest dreams and the grandest plans of anyone, anywhere.”

Offering additional messages of congratulations and advice were Board of Education Vice President April Neuendorf, Board trustee Tracy Frankel and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Rogers, who inducted the South Woods grads as the Syosset High School freshman class and into the three-year “seniors in training” program.

As part of the training program, Dr. Rogers encouraged the students to make new friends, including the “other seniors in training from HBT Middle School,” to get involved in the clubs, teams and activities the high school offers, and to take a few chances to challenge themselves in a positive way.  

“Being a senior is a big responsibility,” Dr. Rogers said. “You will set the tone and culture of the entire student body. You will be the captains of our sports teams, anchors of the school musical, leaders in clubs, bands, orchestras and debate, and more. When you graduate, you will become Syosset’s ambassadors to colleges and communities all across the country. Our current seniors have done an amazing job, and they are counting on you not to lose a beat.”

Congratulations to the HBT and South Woods eighth-graders who are moving up, and good luck at the high school.