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AYER — The day before the last bell rang to signal the end of the school year and the beginning of summer at Ayer Middle School (AMS), the entire community came together to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work done during the year.

There were two ceremonies — one during the day and one in the evening. Students, faculty, family and friends filled the Ayer High School auditorium to applaud the achievements and efforts of students over this school year.

Ayer Middle High School Principal Don Parker said, “This afternoon and this evening’s programs are very important in the life of our middle school. This is about the students who have stepped up and done an ‘above and beyond’ job. It is also a time to congratulate our teachers for the fantastic job they have done this year,” Parker said.

Seventh-grade math teacher Amy Martone announced the highest achievers in the school’s Continental Math League. The highest math average went to Jane Weinstock with Nicholas Blood and Steven Turra in second and third place, respectively.

Brian Maver, physical education teacher, handed out 95 Presidential and National Physical Fitness awards to sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders who worked diligently in gym class.

“We have seen a great improvement on these challenges over the time they have been at the middle school,” Maver said.

AMS Assistant Principal Richard McGrath recognized two groups of students. Asking the Student Council to stand, he said, “These are the folks who have made a huge difference here at the middle school.”

After the applause died down, he asked all students who had received a student-of-the-quarter award this year to stand. “The students you see standing take the extra time and give the extra effort to get extraordinary results,” McGrath said.

Awards for exemplary work

* World Cultures teacher Barbara Allard to John Norton and Shawnna Taylor

* Science teacher Scott Boyd to Olivia Durden and Sylvester Marshall.

* Health teacher Justin Carlson to Allison Fillebrown.

* English teacher Tim Dodd to Tony Banchs and Sarah Witherow.

* Olivia Durden and Shawnna Taylor by technology teacher Barbara Dyer.

* Band teacher Rachael Godin to John Norton and Dominique Jenkins.

* Paige Lafortune from Spanish teacher Sandra Joseph.

* Physical education teacher Brian Maver to Gustina Greis and Hansel Velasquez.

* Randy Richard, math teacher, to Jane Weinstock and Katherine Pare.

* Art teacher Michael Seguin to David McPartlan and Sarah Witherow.

Evening assembly

Ayer Superintendent of Schools George Frost congratulated eighth-graders on their accomplishments. “Tonight marks your transition to becoming the class of 2012.”

He encouraged student to connect with something at the high school and become involved because it is “critical to enjoying the experience and being successful at it.”

The President’s Awards for Educational Excellence was instituted in 1983 to allow the President and the U.S. Secretary of Education to recognize students for their academic excellence. This year’s recipients were Jane Weinstock and Sarah Witherow.

The Principal’s Award was given to Corinne Joseph, and the Louise E. Gaskins Character Award was given to Dominique Jenkins by Gaskins herself, a retired math teacher and former principal.

The Sandy Pond School Association Award — given out since 1936 as a character award — was given to Katherine Pare.

Former Ayer Middle School Principal Richard Molloy presented the Diligence Award named after him to Peter St. Peter and Sarah Witherow.

The last awards of the evening — the Good Samaritan Awards — went to Chris Durben and Sarah Witherow.

Before Ayer Middle High School Assistant Principal Laurie Daisy welcomed the students to the Ayer High School, the eighth- graders were presented with their eighth-grade certificates.

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