Alexandria fifth graders bid farewell, take big step

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With the school year coming to a close all over Alexandria, the fifth graders are gearing up to head on to middle schools with ceremonies that incorporate school-wide clapping, like Cora Kellys clap-out, to costumed characters and noted speakers. At every elementary school though, it was the fifth gradersday.

On Wednesday, June 6, the cafeteria at Maury Elementary School was instantly filled with flashes from the cameras, as parents tried to capture every moment of the promotion ceremony. For a small class, consisting of only 12 students, almost every seat was filled by proud moms, dads, relatives, and friends ready to cheer on their fifth grader.

Family members and guests were welcomed by student Makhalia Smallwood, who then introduced the principal. Speaking from her heart, Principal Lucretia Jackson expressed disbelief at how fast her students had grown up, how proud she was, and how she wished them the best at their new school. Her speech was followed by the first class song, titled Sentimental Journey, where the students sang about their own sentimental journey through Maury, and how it would continue.

Cheers were abundant for their special guest speaker, Mrs. Alma Powell, the wife of former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, who was introduced on stage by Sade Smithers. In her speech, Mrs. Powell reminded students to always remember this day and spoke of the importance of developing their dreams. She told students to always be able and willing to talk to their teachers and mentors. She also stressed the importance of taking time to give back to their community and to never forget where they came from.

After Mrs. Powells speech, the class sang another song, titled We Must Say Goodbye. The remainder of the ceremony was dotted by students who shared their poetry with the class. Fellow student Glenn Carroll introduced poets Xavior Courtney, Christian Scruggs, Tyler Rowland, and Noah Thomas-Jones.

The students were then presented with their diplomas and special recognitions by their teacher, Rozita Honora. Before the presentation she gave a very heart-warming speech on how much her students meant to her.

After the students received their awards and recognitions, the teachers showed a Power Point presentation that documented the past year for all the students. Each of the students also received a copy.

Flying Free at Patrick Henry
On June 8, at Patrick Henry Elementary School, the fifth graders are now Flying Free, as their slogan and song went, into another chapter in their lives as middle schoolers next fall. Pomp and Circumstance played on the sound system, as the 55 fifth graders filed in the auditorium with parents, teachers and school administrators for the recognition ceremony.

The boys were dressed in suits and girls wore dresses for the event, and the parents were armed with digital cameras to capture all the smiles. Some had flowers as well.

The guest speaker, Superintendent Rebecca Perry, gave the keynote speech. Perrys nephew is a fifth grader in another school so she understood the excitement. Think about all youve learned in just a few years, Perry said. Well be the wind under your wings.

Throughout the ceremony, students recited poetry and reflections, and were cited for various achievements. Students were recognized for achievements in art, music, science projects, perfect attendance, physical education, safety patrol, cafeteria and Patrick Henry news team awards. The news teams were even awarded on the national level as well. Patrick Henry had the number one news show in the country, said Dan Quigley, the schools computer specialist that also oversaw the news broadcasts. In addition, Michael Amanuel and Angelica Reyes won the Principals Award.

One teacher, Eileen Greenberg, sang In Our Dreams, a hit song from the movie Titanic, with help from the Patriot String Ensemble. All the fifth graders turned around to face the audience as they sang Flying Free.

Time goes swiftly on the way, all too soon weve lost today, the song goes.

Delores Garcia, 14, was in to watch her sister Daisy graduate. That morning Delores Garcia had helped Daisy with her dress. She was very excited, now shes going to be joining my other sister, at Hammond Middle School, said Delores.

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