J. Taylor Finley Middle School’s eighth grade class “moved up” to Huntington High School in fine fashion on Tuesday night during a ceremony that drew a crowd of about 1,400.
Finley’s moving-up exercises celebrated 352 eighth graders who met the state requirements to advance to ninth grade and the high school program. The high school auditorium was crowded as students assumed their assigned seats for the beginning of the festivities.
Finley Principal John Amato reviewed some of the group’s collective highlights and testified to the academic and co-curricular achievements of what will be Huntington’s Class of 2023.
The Finley ukulele club opened the ceremony by performing under the direction of music teachers Frank Battista and Matthew Gelfer.
Dozens of department level and special awards were presented to the students as they marched onto the stage to receive a certificate and handshake from Mr. Amato, who is retiring from his post.
The crowd included Superintendent James W. Polansky and Huntington School Board President Jennifer Hebert. With nearly all of the 1,400 ground level seats filled, about 100 people watched the proceedings from the balcony.
“It was a great night to honor a terrific group that has shined both in and beyond the classroom,” Mr. Polansky said. “Members are clearly ready for high school and prepared to continue to their perseverance and success at the next level. Congratulations to each of them and to their families!”
A reception was held in the main plaza outside the building following the ceremony. Families posed for a long series of photos as the “graduates” showed off their certificates and special award citations.
The special awards presented included: