Sunrise Drive Moving-Up Ceremonies
Adapting to change in a challenging school year, the two Sunrise Drive’s Class of 2021 Moving-Up Ceremonies were held for the first time at the district’s auditorium in the Old Junior High.
While the venue was different, some traditions were upheld. Customarily the Moving-Up Class would open the ceremony by singing, Sunrise Drive, You are the One, written by Music Teacher Ms. Amy Baron. Due to COVID restrictions preventing the Fifth graders from actually singing in person, Sunrise Drive found a solution by playing the 2016 video recording of them as Kindergarteners singing the school song. At each of the Moving-Ups, the video played on the auditorium’s screen to delighted audiences.
After everyone had watched the nostalgic look back at the cute faces and young voices, Sunrise Drive Principal Dr. James Foy invited the Fifth graders waiting in the side aisles to take their seats on the stage.
Dr. Foy welcomed Superintendent Dr. Stimmel, Sayville Administrators: Dr. Criscione, Mr. Belmonte, Dr. Branscombe, Ms. Makris and Ms. Gigante, along with the students and their families.
“It is amazing how fast time flies.” Dr. Foy said. “It is hard to believe that the Class of 2028 is almost half way through their educational journey here in our district. I am sure that there are many of you that have been having flashbacks of the days your child first spoke or walked, the first time they rode a bicycle, their first day of Kindergarten or even the first time you heard the words Mommy or Daddy.
“Over the past 16 months, there were many other firsts that took place that have propelled us all into redefining the word resilience. I know that remote learning, wearing a mask, and sitting further away from your friends… in the Library… were all firsts too. However, with each obstacle the past year and a half has brought us, this fine group of young ladies and gentleman has persevered and found the positive when it was truly hidden. You have demonstrated grit and independence in completing assignments and activities in ways that were never done before. You got through the difficult times and have simply made lemonade out of lemons. To the audience I say, this is what the future holds… and it’s amazing.”
Dr. Foy read a message from their future principal, Dr. Joseph Castoro welcoming them to the Middle School and followed by announcing the names of students receiving special awards (see pdf). In addition, Dr. Foy spoke about the school-wide character-recognition program, entitled My Character Shines. “In connection with our STRIDES core value,’ he said, “when students display a trait that is admirable, a staff member recognizes students with a sticker,” and a Character Leaf is placed on Mrs. Ports Tree. When Dr. Foy asked those students who earned the Character Leaf to stand, every Moving-Up member in the Class of 2021 stood up to be recognized.
For a musical interlude, Ms. Amy Baron directed the students in a signing—not singing—performance of What a Wonderful World. (see video)
This was followed by the distribution of certificates. Each student was called by name to walk through the Balloon Arches to receive congratulations and certificates. “Congratulations boys and girls,” Dr. Foy concluded once the last student returned to the stage. “Now I would like to also extend special congratulations to you, the parents. It is your tireless love and devotion to your children which has helped to craft the fine group of young people we have on stage today. Their accomplishments are yours as well. Will all the parents of our students please stand and be recognized?”
After the applause died down, Dr. Foy invited Ms. Amy Baron back to showcase the students’ hand-percussion accompaniment to their last musical number, High Hopes by Panic.
In closing, Dr. Foy thanked all who helped make a difference in the lives of the Moving-Up Classes, before addressing his Sunrise Drive students one last time: “Your independence has grown and so has your sense of grit and perseverance. Over the past two years, Sayville has adopted S.T.R.I.D.E.S. as its core values. As you get older, you will find that life doesn't always provide an easy path. It is then that I encourage you to have Self-Esteem and Trust in yourself. Be Resilient when you fall and Independent when you pick yourself back up. Appreciate the world for the beauty and Diversity it has. Be Empathetic to others and find your inner Strength to accomplish all you set out to do. Do not just know what these words mean, but live them each and every day. Let them become the words that others use to define you…. We wish you each a wonderful summer and the best of luck in Middle School… Congratulations to the Sunrise Drive Class of 2021!”