Return to Headlines

Massapequa Fifth Graders Persevered and Prospered

The first part of their journey was complete, as fifth graders throughout the Massapequa School District were recognized for mastering their ABC’s, 123’s and a whole lot more during moving-up ceremonies from June 21-23. 

Last year, fifth graders were celebrated during car parades, but this year students and their proud family members were back at the normal venues – the auditoriums of Massapequa High School, Berner Middle School and McKenna Elementary School. The ceremonies were shorter and done class by class. But the enthusiasm for all the students have accomplished over the past six years remained high, along with the promise for great achievements ahead in sixth grade and beyond.

Building administrators spoke of the perseverance demonstrated by this year’s class of 547 students at six elementary schools. They spent the end of fourth grade learning remotely before returning to school in fifth grade, where they wore masks, sat behind desk barriers and ate lunch in their classrooms. Unqua Elementary School Assistant Principal Laura Hulsaver said that overcoming these obstacles has demonstrated that they will be ready to face any challenges that come their way in the future.

Added Unqua Principal Deanna Catapano, “You did an awesome job. I couldn’t be more proud of how all of you made the best of this year.”

The ceremonies featured awards presentations, musical performances and photo slideshows capturing their memories from kindergarten through fifth grade. Students also reflected on their elementary school years.

Birch Lane Elementary School graduate Michael C. looked back fondly on the friendships he has made, and thanked the teachers and staff for giving him and his classmates the confidence to succeed as they head to middle school. At Berner, he will take with him one of the most important lessons he learned in elementary school – always doing the right thing, even when nobody is watching.

For Principal Stephen Aspetti, this year’s fifth graders were special to him, as they were kindergartners when he became principal. It’s the first group he has seen from start to finish, and a group he is proud to send to Berner in the fall because of their exceptional character. When they returned to school in the September after a long absence and with much uncertainty ahead, Mr. Aspetti gave them a charge – set the example for the rest of the school.

“You exceeded my expectations,” he told them. “You were truly role models for the younger students.”

Assistant Principal Joyce Larkin closed out Birch Lane’s ceremony with four pieces of advice for the departing fifth graders – work hard; make the best choices, not always the easiest ones; take risks and try new things; and always wear a smile.