Wednesday, January 19, 2022

MICMS 8th Grade Promotions



By Noelle H. Lowery

June 4 marked the end of the school year for Collier County Public Schools. It also marked a milestone in the educational careers of Marco Island Charter Middle School’s 2014 eighth-grade class — the annual promotion ceremony. This year, MICMS sent 139 students onto high school during its 16th such ceremony, 35 with high honors and 44 with honors.

Held in the gymnasium, the evening’s event was marked by a processional of the students accompanied by the traditional graduation song “Pomp and Circumstance,” a warm welcome by Principal George Abounader, student remarks, the presentation of promotion certificates and academic awards



by School Board President Tarik Ayasun and closing remarks by Abounader.

The promotional ceremony closed out the last few days of school for the eighth graders, which included final exams and an awards presentation for the students. Teachers in every subject — academic and elective — gave students awards for achievement, participation and improvement. Throughout the awards presentation, students performed for their classmates, including Bailey Sparks, Chelsey Perez, Josiah Hurtley, Logan Smith, Lorry Lyn Sullivan and Natalie Hughes. Smith’s rousing rendition of “Toast,” in which he played rhythm on a toaster with spoons, had the entire class on its feet.

The highlight of the



promotion ceremony was personal speeches given by students Ethan Dorestin, Jordan Vann, Pilar Forrest and Matea Denisen. While each student waxed poetic and philosophic about their experiences at MICMS, they did impart some words of wisdom — in some cases very impressively — that reached beyond their tender adolescent ages.

Dorestin talked about being part of “a program that is bigger than any single individual.” He emphasized that school is “more than a pencil, paper and calculator,” that is it about “life lessons,” and that showed him and his classmates “how to keep moving and going strong.” He was even wistful about looking



back at his time at MICMS and smiling, and was certain about moving onto high school when he said, “I know I am ready and so is everyone here.”

Vann remembered being an awkward and shy sixth grader when she first came to MICMS and shared some of her favorite memories of all three years at the school. She joked about eighth grade being “the year that we never stopped testing,” and noted that despite the brain pounding they all took they all survived and “swam through the waves that threatened to drag us down.”

Forrest likened her middle school experience to a game



of chess and talked about her evolution of the last three years from a pawn to the queen. She thanked her teachers for giving her and her classmates knowledge and a fighting chance and for opening the door for all of their future successes. She closed with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “In a gentle way, you can shake the world,” and she thanked her family for shaking her world.

Denisen thanked her family and especially her mom for all of the love and support they had given her while she was a student at MICMS. She also expressed her gratitude for the



“wonderful moments,” “exciting memories” and “remarkable people” that she experienced in the hallowed hall of MICMS.

Once the promotion certificates were handed out, academic honors and overall school awards were presented. Chief among those were the Eagle Awards. Heart of the Eagle was given to Lorry Lyn Sullivan. Eye of the Eagle was given to William Glasser. The Soaring Spirit Award — which symbolizes an incredible will to overcome obstacles — was given to Sandjuya Thelusnord. Finally, the Flight of the Eagle Award was given to Cody Webb for overall growth — intellectual, social and behavioral — he exhibited since entering MICMS in



the sixth grade.

Vann translated the emotion and expectation of the promotional ceremony best with parting words she quoted from Robert Frost: “In three words, I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

Indeed it does, and for these students, let’s hope it goes on to bigger, better and brighter futures.





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Hadir Ahmed

Antonio Andrade

Jose Benitez

Madison Bonfitto

Nicole Brotzman

Caitlin Carlson

Cassidy Carlson

Yesenia Castillo

Ethan Dorestin

Pilar Forrest

Morgan Grimes

Madeline Grucci

Casar Guerrero

Garvely Guillaume

Ethan Hartman

Natalie Hughes

Isabelle Johnson

Brian Kocak

Gisselle Labra

Nicholas McCarty

Mercedes Mertens

Daniel Nguyen

Tia Nielsen

Leah Pearce

Vincent Piranio

Santiago Ruiz

Stella Souza

Lorry Lyn Sullivan

Alicia Tower

Jordan Vann

Hailey Vaughan

Sandy Vizcaya

Olivia Watt

Kaley Whitworth

Danya Zarate



Luis Aguilera-Puebla

Diana Almazan

Mackenzie Ascetta

Jason Beauplan

Christopher Calcagnini

April Cantu

Andrea Castillo

Joshua Dacruz

Bayan Dadressan

Matea Denisen

Susan Faremouth

Logan Fischer

Parker Galloway

Alexander Galvan

William Glasser

Frida Hernandez

Brenden Howard

Josiah Hurtley

Junhee Kim

Kayla Kladis

Lawens Liberus

Mackenzie Lytle

Ashley Manzanares

Charles McAllister

Brianna Monroe

Wiley Morgan

Diane Needles

Kayhan Peksen

Chelsey Perez

Lady Ramirez

Gianna Rose

Cesiah Sanchez

Allison Schindler

Jacon Schneller

Elizabeth Schulteis

Logan Smith

Fritz Stahl

Catherine Stogner

Rose Sullivan

Payge Sutton

Xhesi Tase

Sandjuya Thelusnord

Jovani Trejo

Zachary West



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