PDS Middle School Celebrates 8th Grade & Memorable Year

Photo: Eighth Grade students in line with their certificates during the presentation portion of the MS final assembly

The PDS Middle School held the final assembly of the school year on June 9, continuing a week of celebrations and goodbyes across the School. The Eighth Grade and their families attended in person in the Princeton Day School Athletic Center and the Grade 5-7 students watched with their teachers on the DTEN big screens in their homerooms. 

The final gathering honoring the 8th graders, following on last Friday's final MS Focus assembly (see highlights below), closed out a challenging yet rewarding, and very special, school year. Students, families, faculty and staff worked together continually to navigate the unique obstacles that this year presented, further strengthening the supportive faculty-student connections for which the PDS Middle School is known.

Opening the final assembly, the Eighth Grade walked across the field house stage as their names were called and enjoyed a moment in front of their families and teachers to acknowledge the completion of Middle School and the start of their next chapter.

Head of School Paul J. Stellato praised the Middle School students, parents and faculty for their collective hard work and sacrifices that forged this year's success. In his remarks to the Eighth Grade students, Mr. Stellato stated:

You proved to be the class for the moment, and we will remember you as the class that made this moment its own. You helped to sustain the Middle School, invigorate it, renew it and revive it every single day. Active, engaged and inspired, you have taken very seriously your responsibilities as leaders of the MS and have done so with pride.

Head of Middle School Renée C. Price reflected on the grace with which the entire Middle School community, led by the eighth graders, journeyed through this unforgettable year, and offered words of wisdom for the Eighth Grade as they move on:

Inspiration is everywhere and often in unexpected places... you just have to keep your eyes open. We have kept our eyes open this year for the unexpected places of inspiration, joy and possibility. Know that there are friends at PDS rooting for you, and here for you, as you decide how you will personally make meaning out of the experiences we endured this year. PDS will always be your home, no matter where you may roam.

Student speaker Nandini Kolli '25 reflected on the value of exploring the many resources and spaces in the Middle School, including the library, ceramics studio and the basketball courts. She encouraged younger middle schoolers to step out of their comfort zone while also embracing the things that make them happy during their years in Grades 5-8.

The second student speaker, Humzah Ladiwala '25, shared the story of his personal evolution during Middle School as he overcame challenges by finding and embracing passions, including guitar, theater (and, especially during the pandemic, online gaming). He advised younger middle schoolers to courageously take a step out and make new friends and to remember that there are always people around to help you emerge on the other side of any adversity.

A live performance by the MS Chamber Players provided a special assembly finale during which everyone appreciated the return of in-person performing arts. Under the direction of MS/US Strings and Orchestra Director Dr. Tomasz Rzeczycki, the MS Chamber Players performed a selection from Hamilton, with the audience clapping along (video clip above).

Enjoy photos of the final Middle School assembly and Grade 5-7 classroom goodbyes in our Flickr album!

And don't miss the video slideshow, below, of 2020-2021 Middle School highlights, created by the faculty and shared with the students on June 4 at the final Focus Assembly. It offers an 8-minute trip down memory lane on what was truly a one-of-a-kind year!   

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