PEPPERELL -- In a speech to the Nissitissit Middle School 8th grade graduates, student Hadley Beaureguard celebrated the unique characteristics that made each of her classmates shine.
"People say our grade, the NMS class of 2014, is very unique. Some say unique as though unique is exciting. Some say it like unique is scary. But I think unique is truly wonderful," Beaureguard said.
"I know that some people might have had more challenges in middle school than others. But remember it is struggles that help us learn and grow," she added.
Nissitissit Middle School celebrated the graduation of 161 8th grade students June 19 with a short ceremony in the school's auditorium before a packed room of teachers, family and friends.
The experiences that she and her classmates had in middle school, Beaureguard said, helped to shape them into the people they are now.
"We are all unique because we have all created ourselves out of different things. Some of us have a new piece of confidence that comes from singing or playing a solo on this very stage. Some students have a real sense of teamwork after winning their first game or meet. Some of us will take a piece from a special friendship that we found here. Some students will carry a piece of determination with them after studying hard for a test on which they got an A. When you put all these pieces together, you get the individuals that are behind me, all different sizes, different shapes, different likes and dislikes.
Principal Diane Gleason praised the work of the school's teachers in shaping the young learners.
"The past four years have been full of tremendous growth for all of you -- academically, socially and emotionally. Your teachers from grade five through grade eight have worked very hard to prepare you for the next four years ahead. They have built and expanded on the solid foundation that you received in elementary school, introduced new subjects and ideas and new ways to learn, and in the process they've strived to make you not passive but active learners," she said.
But the students' futures were now in their own hands, Gleason said.
"It's up to each of you to determine how you will approach the next four years. We hope that you will have a positive attitude, that you will practice resilience, perseverance and determination as you face new challenges. We hope you will bring the core values of Nissitissit with you," Gleason said.
A small group of students also received Nissitissit Awards, which recognize students who exemplify the school's core values. Abbreviated as CLICK, those values are courage, leadership, integrity, curiosity and kindness. The award recipients were chosen by teachers.
Recipients of the awards were Kyle Adams, Katherine Bramlett, Hannah Frechette, Ethan Harris, Abigail Johnson, Kyle Kashiwabara, Nicole Landino, Zachary Libonate, Connie Marinilli, Alexander Nick, Karen Rondeau, Noah Smith, Seth Taylor and Jack Vogelsang.
In her speech, Beaureguard said that her experiences in middle school and the guidance of her teachers had shaped her understanding of what those core values mean.
"Courage isn't just pulling someone out of a fire. It's as simple as standing up for someone when no one else will or climbing the rock wall in gym. Leadership isn't just being the president. It's doing your homework. Integrity is admitting when you've wronged someone. Curiosity is reading ahead. Kindness is picking up someone's books who has tripped in the hallway. You don't have to be a knight to demonstrate CLICK. You only have to be you, and I think our teachers and our experiences throughout middle school have taught us that," she said.
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