Celebrating sixth-grade promotion while quarantined

June 2, 2020


Christopher Pinto-Spiegel

Patrick M. Villano School Principal Jessica Espinoza printed and displayed photos of every sixth-grader in the school’s windows. She also ordered a banner that congratulates sixth-graders on their upcoming promotion. The banner displays a picture of the students at a recent celebration.

Because of the COVID-19 quarantine, many end-of-year student celebrations across the country will become virtual. That includes the sixth-grade awards and promotion ceremony at Patrick M. Villano Elementary School on June 17. 

I am grateful that we can use pre-recorded video to make a promotion ceremony for our students, and I am looking forward to this way of doing our ceremony,” Principal Jessica Espinoza said in an email to families today. “While it will be different, I feel it will be special in its own way, and it will highlight this time in our lives in a way that will never be forgotten.”

The day will start at 8:45 a.m. with a video link sent to all sixth-grade students. They can watch the annual awards ceremony online from home with family. At 10 a.m., students will then go to Patrick M. Villano School to receive their diplomas and actual individual awards in a special Sixth Grade Send-Off. Each student and their family will drive to the main entrance near the bus loading/unloading area.  The student will stay in the car and receive a promotion package.

From 10 to 10:30 a.m., students in Mrs. April Catuogno’s homeroom class will receive their package. Then, from 10:30 to 11 a.m., families of Miss Nicole Ferrante’s homeroom class will drive to the main entrance. Next, students in Mrs. Elizabeth McClafferty and Miss Allison Recchia’s homeroom will receive their package. Finally, from 11:30 to noon, Ms. Brianna Peros and Mrs. Kate Cremonese’s homeroom class will have a turn.

“While this is not how the promotion ceremony was originally planned, we are looking forward to creating a fun and memorable experience for your 6th graders,” Espinoza continued in the family email.

Last week, Governor Phil Murphy announced that outdoor graduation ceremonies for middle and high school students could take place after July 6 following all COVID-19 protocol. There was no guidance from the state concerning elementary school promotions. Sixth-graders already missed the opportunity to attend a year-end dance, traditional class trip, and spring concert. However, the coronavirus has not squashed school spirit for sixth-grader Dani Dominguez. She helped her mother deliver special promotion signs to the homes of all sixth-grade students.

“Well, I just thought that as a sixth-grader, we would be moving up to the high school without really finishing what had been the past four years of our lives,” Dominguez stated. “We won’t really get a graduation, so I thought that making graduation signs would be something nice to remind us all that our time at Villano is really over, and it is time to move on. Our experiences at Villano will always hold a place in our hearts.” 


2 Responses to “Celebrating sixth-grade promotion while quarantined”

  1. Addyson Petry on June 5th, 2020 10:09 am

    I think that this was very well written. It really showed me that the 6th graders deserve this and that the school is doing everything it can to help.

  2. Joe Vigna on June 6th, 2020 11:09 am

    Very well written piece. Nice work Chris, Kylie and Joanna Rae!!

    It makes me sad that the 6th graders losing all the special things that go along with being the seniors of Villano, but know you will have that as seniors of the Jr/Sr High School soon enough which BTW is too soon for me.

    Keep your chins up. You’re a great bunch of kids.

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Celebrating sixth-grade promotion while quarantined