Rocky Point Middle School celebrated the eighth-grade class during a moving up ceremony on June 23 on the backfield of the school.

With the help of eighth-grade choral members, the program commenced with the singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” and an address by eighth-grade speaker Alexander Samuilov, who shared a reflection on his time in middle school and the hopes he has for the class’s future.

Principal Scott Dr. O’Brien also reflected on his work with the students, as both their middle school and elementary principal. He encouraged them to always reach for their dreams and bestowed a few sage words of advice that had been submitted by the student’s parents.

As a testament to their myriad of accomplishments, students were presented with more than 20 academic and character awards, including the New York State Comptroller’s Achievement Award, the Triple “C” Award, and the Presidential Outstanding Academic Achievement and Academic Excellence awards as well as department and awards.

Before each moving up candidate was presented with their official promotion certificates, the school honored a four-legged member of the class – Eileen, a retired service dog who has been an integral member of the school’s doggy reading program. Over the past three years, select eighth-graders were invited to read aloud to Eileen in order to enhance their oral language skills, build reading confidence and fluency.