Charlotte Central School graduates surprised by passage of time

Among the soon-to-be-graduates, gathered in Charlotte Central School’s multi-purpose room before the ceremony, Thursday, that day, the day of their graduation, was the best day of their school careers.

But other than that day, June 13, field days had been good times. Many had fond memories of P.E. and advisory groups.

“I had a bunch of these kiddos for the last two years,” said Betsy Martin, eighth grade special educator. “It’s been a great two years, and they’re ready for high school now.”

Of the ceremony that would soon follow, Martin said, “They did all the planning for what it’s going to look like, the speakers, the song, it is nice to have a lot of student involvement. It’s supposed to be their celebration.”

Photos by Scooter MacMillan

Graduate Nathaneal Akselrod had made an amazing moon that hung in an indoor pavilion, draped in translucent fabric with strings of light shining through. The obvious question: Was he entering high school with a thought of going into set design?

Akselrod said he was ready to go into anything. He seemed wide open to exploring possibilities.

Before Charlotte Central School’s graduation, principal Jen Roth had also said to expect a ceremony where students prevailed.

Post-COVID at Charlotte Central School, she said, graduations are more and more planned by the graduating.

“It’s orchestrated by the kids. There’s less and less adults involved in the festivities,” Roth said.

Roth was the only adult who spoke. She told the students that life is full of obstacles which she wanted them to overcome, while remaining true to themselves.

She went on to reiterate her point about the ceremony: “Tonight is about student voices and student experiences.”

Roth was followed by three student speakers, among whom there was common theme of how distant in the future eighth grade had seemed when they entered school and yet how quickly it had come. And passed.

Story Homes said, “When I started, I would see eighth graders and that seemed so far away.”

Holmes went on to thank the parents, the teachers and the janitors for their help during the graduates’ Charlotte Central School experience.

Leigh Cullen said that in kindergarten she had been so scared of eighth graders, a fear that was assuaged when she was given a rose by an eighth grader. She was so happy that she and her classmates had been able to continue the tradition by giving out roses themselves to the younger students.

Theo Novak, who started at Charlotte Central School in the sixth grade, said, “After three years, it seems like home.”

“Where did the time go?” he asked rhetorically. “I’ve made friends I will probably know for the rest of our lives.”

Novak also thanked the custodians.