Creswell, Education

Class of 2022 feted with promotion ceremony, party

CMS eighth grader Jayden Pratt receives his promotion certificate from CSD school board member Natalie Smathers. GINI DAVIS/THE CRESWELL CHRONICLE

During their Promotion Ceremony, held June 13, Creswell Middle School eighth graders officially transformed from CMS Tigers to Creswell High School Bulldogs – crossing the metaphorical bridge between their three years at CMS and their four years as the CHS Class of 2022.
Collaborating to welcome and equip them for that transition with advice and encouragement were CMS Principal Shirley Burrus, CHS Principal Adam Walker, Freshman Class President-Elect Carter Kruger and CHS Associated Student Body President-Elect Allison Smathers.
Eighth-grade choir members, directed by Erik Telfer, opened the ceremony by singing the National Anthem and ”The Climb.”
Kruger advised classmates to remember that ”the power to decide where your lives are going to go” rests with them and delivered a motivational quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: ”’If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.’”
With so many sports, clubs and activities available, Smathers encouraged incoming freshmen to dive in and get involved at CHS. ”The transition from middle school to high school can be scary at first, but just be yourself and be involved. This is how you’ll make friends and make great memories,” she said.
Watkins shared some keys of high school – and life – success: perseverance, respect, involvement, determination and a belief in excellence.
”Don’t evera settle for anything less than your best,” Watkins told incoming freshmen. ”Your decisions determine your destiny. Your choices in the next four years will start shaping your future destiny – and we’re there to help, support and encourage you in reaching that destiny.”
A slideshow created by class member Emme Whitson treated the audience to side-by-side infant/child and eighth-grade photos of the ”grads,” followed by the moment everyone had been waiting for: the individual presentation of their promotion certificates by Creswell School Board members.
Special awards were also presented during the ceremony. Julianne Kersgaard earned the class’ highest overall score on state testing, placing second in math and third in language arts.
Her twin, Emma Kersgaard had the top language arts score, while Brielle Brick was second.
Aidan Higgins had the top math score; Harmony Goodman was third.
Merrily Arnold had the top science score; Tyler Brainard and Chance Leach tied for second.
Students showing the most improvement from seventh grade to eighth were Sylvie Gunder in language arts and Christina Duenas-Alvarado in math.
Emma Kersgaard read the most words during the year, at 10,121,715; Spencer Ocumpaugh’s perfect attendance throughout the year was recognized; and five-semester Academic Excellence (3.75-4.00 GPA) and Academic Achievement (3.50-3.75) certificates were presented.
Burrus also acknowledged the retirement of two CMS staffers: Secretary Kathi Jackson, after 19 years with the district; and Educational Assistant Bonnie Wells, after 24 years.
Finally, before adjourning to enjoy their parent-sponsored party, the Class of 2022 watched their parents open the sure-to-be-treasured letters they’d handwritten to them, and garnered congratulatory balloons, flowers, and plenty of hugs and kisses from family and friends.
With their high school years – full of promise and possibility, the gateway to their future success – stretching before them, members of the Class of 2022 carried with them some final words of wisdom from their middle school principal.
Burrus, who had once met the former First Lady, quoted Barbara Bush for that sage advice: ”’Never lose sight of the fact that the most important yardstick of your success will be how you treat other people – your family, friends and coworkers, and even strangers you meet along the way,’”



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