To the tune of Katy Perry’s song “Roar,” a nod to the Jefferson Jaguar mascot, the class of 2014 was promoted to sixth grade on Monday, June 23.
Jefferson School’s auditorium was standing room only, as friends and family gathered to see the 186 fifth graders celebrate their elementary school years.
The graduation ceremony began with a video produced by Bethany and Duncan Pettigrew, filmmakers and parents of a student in the class. The fifth graders also sang songs in appreciation of their teachers and families. The popular “Cup Song,” with its lyrics, “You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone,” was dedicated by the fifth graders to the Jefferson third and fourth grades.
Board of Education president Beth Daugherty congratulated the students, assuring them that any nerves they might feel in anticipation of middle school are “completely natural.” Daugherty told the students that all four of her children “sat where you are sitting,” as they graduated from Jefferson. Jefferson students attend either South Orange or Maplewood Middle School, but, said Daugherty, “You’ll be back together in three short years.”
The fifth graders expressed their gratitude to Principal Susan Grierson, who is also moving on from Jefferson. Grierson will become Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction in the district.
Grierson bade farewell to the fifth graders. As she dismissed them from the auditorium, she reminded teary families that the children aren’t merely the Jefferson Class of 2014, but “Columbia High School’s Class of 2021. And it goes fast.”