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Eighth-graders prepare to embrace change

RANCHO SANTA FE — It was a chilly evening for the R. Roger Rowe School’s eighth-grade graduation, but the 89 graduates didn’t seem to mind the chill or the marine layer overhead.
Some of the boys and girls shivered, but that was mostly from the excitement as they walked into the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club two-by-two to the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance,” into an overflow crowd of proud family members and friends.
The June 16 graduation started with welcoming remarks from Lindy Delaney, district superintendent, who pointed out to the graduates that their lives were about to change.
“This will be the last time you will be together as a group. The last time you will be eighth-graders at R. Roger Rowe,” she told the graduates.
Delaney thanked the parents for their part in getting their children this far in their education.
“Thank you to all the parents who supported, encouraged and for your dedication. You have done a wonderful job,” she said.
Connor Bailey, student council treasurer, in his offered the class’ appreciation to the entire staff of the school.
“Please join me in a huge round applause for the people behind me,” he said as he gestured to the middle-school teachers, school board members and members of the administration.
Afterwards, singers offered a musical selection including “Walk On,” by Carl Strommen and “Time of Your Life,” by Billie Joe Armstrong. Singers were Sophia Balderas, Nicole Buss, Emma Dypvik, Bailey Fredricks, Danni Fredricks, Sahara Gonzalez, Dominique Hoffmann, Nadine Kadri, Anastasia Lukianov, Jane Mezzino, Katherine Michel, Rebecca Miller, Caroline Norris, Kyle Quraishy, Alexi Stein and Tiffany Zhang. Ethan Rappaport accompanied them on guitar.
Scot Cheatham, former school board president, gave a touching speech to the class of 2011 about adapting to change.
“To many of you, this is the only school you’ve known,” he said.
Indeed, many of the students had started kindergarten there and remained through eighth-grade.
“You are the first class to graduate from our beautiful new school,” he said. “You had to put up with the construction, the dust and the cranes. It was a mess. You saw the foundation laid and the structure built.”
“You will have to adjust to a new school environment with 30 to 35 people in a class. You are used to small classes and a lot of attention,” he said. “Learning how to adapt and change will be essential. Learn to welcome change with open arms.”
He said next will come driving, then SATs, then college.
“It’s really going to go fast,” he said. “Your foundation has been well built here at R. Roger Rowe. You have been given the tools to succeed.”
Cheatham also told them not to be afraid to make mistakes because making mistakes is part of growing up, but that it is important to listen to their inner voices when considering a decision.
Then he quoted the Dr. Seuss book, “The Places You’ll Go.”
Student speakers Eva Buechler, Tess Cimino, Kennedy Erdossy, Jourdan Parnell, Liz Schoelen and Kate Swanson took the assembled group of proud families on a trip down memory lane with them.
Topping off their speech were words from the television show, “Modern Family.”
“Don’t stop Believing! Let’s get this party started.”
It was the first time in 50 years that the school’s namesake Dr. R. Roger Rowe was unable to attend.

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