Taking the Happy (and Scary) Walk from Elementary to Middle School

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Photo: Students during Wellington Elementary’s final walk for its 4th graders on the final day of school, Tuesday, June 22.

Sitting on the turf field outside the entrance to the Roger Wellington Elementary School on a muggy, warm last day of school, fourth-grade teacher Jessica Endres was holding court one final time with her 24 students.

“Don’t forget to come back to visit me because I’ll miss each one of you,” she told her class.

Then, with a final good-bye, Endres saw her elementary student become official middle schoolers.

“We had a great year, and it’s sad that it’s coming to an end,” she said between receiving hugs and bouquets. “They were an excellent class.”

In what has become an annual event at Belmont, students moving into new schools are given an opportunity to have a “final exit” from their current building. At the Wellington, the four classes of fourth graders are led out the school’s front entrance by Principal Amy Spangler and their teachers – Endres, Samantha McCabe, Steven Tenhor and Christina Westfall – in front of parents and family.

It’s an emotional day, for sure,” said Spangler, as the students either briskly hurried down the sidewalk or spent the time waving, saluting, dancing or blowing kisses.

“Today our kids are mixed with emotion, excited about Middle School and they’re also terrified about Middle School,” she said.

In preparation for their big move, the fourth graders spent a day at the Chenery where they were allowed them to ask any question “which is super helpful because then [Chenery Middle School Principal] Kristen [St. George] and her team can prepare the kids with real frank answers.”

As she said farewell to students she had been with for four or five years, Spangler said the end of term is always bittersweet but especially with those leaving for the final time.

“Whether it was an easy class or a challenging one, at the end of the year you know we accomplished something, they accomplished something, and we’ll miss them,” Spangler said.

“They grow on you. They’re our babies.”

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