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Moving-up Motorcades for Seaford Fifth Graders

Middle school will be the next stop for recent graduates of Seaford Harbor and Seaford Manor elementary schools, who were recognized at a pair of unique moving-up ceremonies. The COVID-19 pandemic meant that students and their families couldn’t gather together in the high school auditorium, but instead the two elementary buildings served as backdrops for the outdoor celebrations.

At Manor, there was a separate ceremony for each fifth grade class on June 11. From their cars, students heard words of encouragement and a little advice from Principal Debra Emmerich, Assistant Principal Mary Ellen Kakalos and Superintendent Dr. Adele Pecora.

“This will probably be a day that you will never forget,” Ms. Emmerich said. “Someday you may tell your children – and maybe even your grandchildren – about the day you had to spend your fifth grade moving-up ceremony in your car while listening to your elementary principal speak to you from a parking lot rather than an auditorium.”

She noted that this year they have learned so much more than reading, writing and math. They have learned to make sacrifices and compromises, how to adapt to an every-changing world and how to make sense of things that don’t make sense. Pointing across the parking lot to the middle school, Ms. Emmerich told students that they are leaving Manor with great abilities and ready to make a positive difference in the world.

Harbor also featured ceremonies for each class on June 15. Cars filled the parking spaces beyond the school’s front lawn. After speeches, the cars moved one-by-one into the front driveway. Each student, along with family members, were allowed to step out – walking past a line of cheering and masked teachers – for photos on a riser in front of the main entrance. Students were presented with their moving-up certificates and gifts including a green Class of 2020 blanket, a laptop case and a commemorative DVD.

Principal Thomas Burke, the former middle school assistant principal, had some expert knowledge to share with fifth graders about their future school. He said that the nerves about being late for class, getting lost, having trouble with lockers and finding a seat in the cafeteria will quickly disappear.

“Boys and girls, if you can deal with being home for three months and learning through a screen, those middle school worries will seem like nothing,” he said, adding, “What makes you stand out is your ability to persist through challenging times. You were the class that did it. You were the class that did not give up.”