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Staff Writer

PEPPERELL — Families and friends filled Nissitissit Middle School’s auditorium on June 14 as 176 eighth-graders shed their grammar and middle school years in preparation for the big step into high school.

North Middlesex Regional School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Deborah Brady and Nissitissit staff members seated in a reserved section near the front listened to Principal Michael Tikonoff’s welcoming remarks.

“This is a special time that represents success from kindergarten through eighth grade,” he said, “I consider it a celebration in which children are leaving as confident young adults ready for the challenge of high school.”

Tikonoff reiterated the mission of his school, which is to recognize the unique needs of the student age level and provide a safe environment. He congratulated this eighth grade for its “big leadership” in sports, bands, chorus, student council and mathematics.

“The class gave two murals to the school and has been a tremendous positive example to other students, led by school spirit and achievement,” Tikonoff said.

After student speaker Angela Danforth reminded her classmates of their “amazing memories,” Tikonoff read the names of 10 recipients of the Principal’s Citizenship Awards.

“These students symbolize our core values, CLICK,” Tikonoff said. “I could have honored 20, 30 or 50 from this class, there are so many who exemplify them.”

CLICK stands for Courage (a willingness to take risks), Leadership (an attitude and responsibility to reach goals), Integrity (honesty, sincerity and doing what’s right), Curiosity (a desire to learn about a full range of things), and Kindness (caring for others).

Recipients included Bonnie Murphy, Jon Nelson, Lindsey McDonough, Andrew Riley, Audrey Lambert, Michael Richards, Kayla Gjelsvik, Edward Nee, Kaila Gibbons and Kevin Babineau.

“Your parents may wonder where the time has gone, the tears as you stepped onto the bus to go to Peter Fitzpatrick School, more when you took the bus to Varnum Brook School,” Tikonoff said.

“You took the big leap into sixth grade and you turned out OK. You’re embarking on your next leg, leaving what was done for you. High school awaits,” he continued.

“Get involved just like you did here. Don’t just go to class. Do what you feel is right by making good choices,” Tikonoff continued.

“Be a positive person because people around you then will be also. Remember the meaning of CLICK. It can follow you and it will help you at 16, 18 and beyond. Set some high goals. Be motivated to do your best,” he said.

“We’ll miss you. You’re a remarkable group of young people. We were honored to teach you at Nissitissit Middle School,” the principal said.

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