JEFFERSON — Jefferson Middle School held its eighth-grade promotion ceremony Wednesday on the high school football field.

Principal Nick Skretta gave the welcome address, thanking students, staff and families for their perseverance and resilient during this pandemic year.

“I don’t think anyone could say their eighth-grade year was the easiest in their academic life,” he said. “Then add a pandemic on top of that.”

Jefferson superintendent Mark Rollefson, who will be retiring from the Jefferson district July 1, gave the main address, an interactive talk in which he recruited students from the class and interviewed them about their interests.

Would they pay to learn from an expert in their field of choice, the superintendent asked. The students responded yes of course they would. Then Rollefson asked whether they’d pay to learn from an expert in life.

Receiving uniform positive answers, he noted that these experts were sitting in the field: their own parents and grandparents.

“Here’s the takeaway,” the superintendent said. “Learn from the experts in your life. Learn from those people who have been there and done that.”

The superintendent then shared some advice garnered from a survey of eighth grade parents about how to get the most out of high school.

Looking back at their own high school years, the parents had said they wished they’d studied harder, gotten involved in more clubs, reached out to more people, and worried less about personal drama.

After a recorded performance by the eighth-grade choir, students received their promotion certificates by advisory group, in the bleachers, before joining their parents on the field.

Skretta ended the official ceremony with the hello-goodbye greeting “Aloha,” as he will be leaving the middle school next year and traveling with the Class of 2025 to the high school, where he will succeed retiring principal Steve Dinkel.

The major eighth-grade awards were also presented at this occasion.

The eighth-grade Quale-Arnold award, presented annually to the student whom teachers deem to have been the greatest pleasure to have in class, went to Christian Crabtree.

The Merit Award, presented to students exemplifying leadership, character, scholarship and service, went to Tyler Steinke and Ashlyn Enke.

The Principal’s Award, given to the students with the highest gradepoint average, went to Brennan Dempsey, Hildie Dempsey, Amelia Kamenick, Quinn Rundle and Ava Skoug.

The Optimist Award, presented by the Jefferson Optimist Club, went to Piper Crabtree for exemplifying the Optimist Creed.

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