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HARVARD — Class President Molly O’Rourke-Friel addressed her fellow students during The Bromfield School’s eighth-grade recognition ceremony.

“We all recall elementary school, when a year seemed like eternity,” she said.

They’ve done a lot of growing up since then, she said, and time seems to go by faster. Now, the class of 2011 stands on the threshold of high school with just four more years to go before they graduate. The 122 students in this class have grown academically and socially, said O’Rourke-Friel, and are ready for high school.

She recalls class events, memorable class trips and how they “came together as a group,” she said. As the largest in recent history, this class has been called “a mob scene,” she said, and their numbers are significant.

“We can make a difference,” she said.

O’Rourke-Friel said she and her classmates have had help along the way, and they look forward to the next four years as they move “to the next hallway” and enter high school in the fall.

On behalf of the teaching team, administrators and staff, teacher Cynthia Hurley said, “We’re so proud of you!”

She, too, noted the size of the class.

“There’s strength in numbers,” she said, and these students have done a “great job.”

The people who helped make this year a success deserve added kudos for the challenges they faced during “an unusual number of trying moments,” said Hurley. But it’s this moment that matters most.

Capturing an old adage, she said, “Everything turns out (all right) in the end if it doesn’t, it’s not the end.”

This moment is a milestone, she said, but not an end.

“We’re here to celebrate a beginning,” she said.

Citing the times she’s worked with “so many of you,” Hurley congratulated students who had risen to some challenging occasions and “turned things around.” She predicted that the decision-making skills they demonstrated will come in handy in the future.

“Our instinct is to protect you from harm,” she said, but this class had shown that it can deal with “trying experiences” on its own.

“That’s when character is formed,” she said.

Now is the time for these soon-to-be-high-schoolers to thank parents, relatives, teachers, coaches, school administrators and friends for helping them get this far, she said.

“Most importantly thank yourselves,” she said.

Hurley wrapped her remarks at the June 18 ceremony with words of wisdom. When faced with a decision, keep these “constants” in mind, she advised: Gather facts, seek opinions from people you trust, listen to your own wisdom and “always follow your heart.”

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