F.E. Bellows Elementary School fifth-graders celebrated one of many milestones in their academic careers during a moving up ceremony on June 16. The students will embark on the next phase of their educational journey as sixth-graders at Rye Neck Middle School in the fall.

Principal Michael Scarantino welcomed the guests and honorees before sharing a few words of wisdom with the students. He encouraged them to continue to show respect, kindness and gratitude toward others, to believe in themselves and not let anything get in the way of achieving their goals.

“Kindness and respect can change the world if we all give it to all people, all the time, no matter the situation,” Scarantino told the students. “Never give up; demonstrate persistence in everything you do. Things will get difficult; just don’t quit. Keep dreaming, keep hoping and keep working hard. You can do anything if you put your mind to it. We expect great things for each and every one of you.”

Before the students were called one by one to receive their certificates, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro acknowledged that all 133 students are ready for the challenges and opportunities that await them at middle school.

“Your teachers have prepared you well for the journey,” she told the students. “You are good readers, writers, mathematicians, artists and musicians. You are special students who enjoy learning and exploring. You approach each and every day with a curiosity that leads you to new and exciting opportunities.”

At the end of the ceremony, which was a celebration of the students’ achievements and successes throughout their time in the elementary school, the graduates sang a song that was written by the students themselves and music teacher Tom Galgano.