Eighth-graders at Rye Neck Middle School celebrated the culmination of their hard work over the last three years during a special moving up ceremony, held at the Performing Arts Center on June 22. They will embark on the next phase of their educational journey as Rye Neck High School freshmen in the fall.

The celebration featured music provided by band director John Mattera and the middle school band, as well as inspiring words from students and administrators. Student representatives Eulasha Tisnovsky and Anna Murphy addressed their classmates and reflected on their middle school experience. In his remarks, Principal Eric Lutinski encouraged the students to persevere through any challenge and strive to reach their fullest potential.

“What successful people have left when we put ability aside is ‘desire to reach one’s potential,’” he told the graduates. “To me, that sounds like motivation, drive, courage or ‘heart.’ The only thing that can ever hold you back is heart. You will have everything you need to succeed at each level – use it. The next time you shake your fist and rage against adults controlling your lives, remember that no one has more control than you. Success can be had with some determination and attitude.”

During the ceremony, several students received awards for excellence in academics, athletics and the arts.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Barbara Ferraro offered advice to the students, reflected on their contributions to the middle school and praised them for their accomplishments. She also encouraged them to thank their parents for their love and support, and to take the time to reflect on their experiences, take advantage of the knowledge they’ve gained and cherish the friendships they’ve made.

“You will be encountering even greater opportunities and be challenged with numerous choices – choices that will help you to direct your future and realize your dreams,” Dr. Ferraro said. “Remember – success comes from those who believe in their dreams, so reach for the stars and make your dreams come true.”

Signifying the conclusion of one chapter and the beginning of another, the students were called one by one to accept their certificates.