GREENBURGH, NY - On the humid morning of June 23, hundreds of parents gathered into the Highview Elementary School 's gym to honor their third grade students in the annual "Moving Up" celebration.
After a year filled with English, math, music and class trips, the group of 135 students will transplant to R. J. Bailey School where they will spend three years before moving on to graduate from high school in 2020.
"This is a glorious day," said Marguerite Clarkson, principal of R. J. Bailey. "The children are beautiful. I am so excited to be their principal. I'm so appreciative that I am entrusted with leading you children through the next few years."
Clarkson encouraged the children to write letters to her over the summer as a way of introduction.
"We don't forget about that light inside of every one of these children," she said. "It's precious, we nurture it and we appreciate it... Our relationship with each and every child is what matters most. That's how we motivate and inspire."
The ceremony was sprinkled with Croatian, Spanish and African songs, sung by the graduates to celebrate the community's diversity. A violin and cello concert featuring 42 students took place prior to the procession. Music is what makes the district great, said Highview Principal Gary Mastrangelo, as he thanked the musical director Peter Roberts.
Fourth-grader speaker Wesley Nyambi was elected by his classmates to address the Highview Elementary students. Wesley asked all parents to stand and be proud of their children's accomplishments.
"When I look at these graduates, I see future doctors, scientists, teachers, professors and even presidents," he said. "Do your best and show how smart you are. Make me proud. Make Mr. Mastrangelo proud. Make Highview proud!"
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