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Alton Memorial Jr. High holds 15th annual send off

This article originally appeared in the Friday, June 1, 2018 edition of the Progress Times

Ending the school year by hugging and waving goodbye to their teachers, former eighth grade students at Alton Memorial Junior High School are heading for the next chapter in their lives.

Teachers and administrators from the junior high lined up to say goodbye at the bus stop, as most students take the bus home. Music blasted on speakers as students, carrying leftover pizza and snacks from parties celebrating the last day of school, exited the building.

20180525 AltonMemorialJrHighSendOffSylvia Garcia, the principal at Alton Memorial Jr. High, said the send off has been happening since the school started 15 years ago. According to her, it usually has quite the impact on students.

“I think it just makes them realize how much our teachers and our staff really care for them,” Garcia said. “This is our last goodbye to them, and we’re wishing them well during the summer and for the coming school year.”

Garcia explained that while this year was slightly difficult, she was glad to see the students grow and move on to their next level of education.

“This group has been tough, I’m going to be honest, it’s been tough,” Garcia said. “But I think they’re ready for high school. Our teachers have prepared them, and they’re all excited to be going on.”

As they streamed into the buses, students hugged teachers and other faculty members. Some eighth graders even cried, and as they boarded the buses the cheering and chatter grew louder, as their summer was about to begin.

“I think if they leave with anything from our campus, it is that we have taught them not only academics,” Garcia said. “They are really well-rounded, with emotional and social skills. They know how to behave, and etiquette. I think we’ve done an all-around job of preparing them for high school.”

Garcia said that at Alton Memorial Jr. High, teachers, administrators and all staff remind students that going to high school is not going to be easy, but with what they have learned they should be more than ready to face their next step in education.

“At the high school, you’re kind of on your own,” Garcia said. “And here, in middle school, they’re a little bit more sheltered. We really take care of them. We are preparing them to be responsible, to take care of themselves.”

Once the buses were filled, students lowered their windows and started waving goodbye to their former teachers and staff at the junior high. The teachers did a huge wave goodbye, and as the buses pulled out of the lot, many students tossed their old identification cards and lanyard ID holders out the windows.

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