Posted by: Debbie Abrams Kaplan | June 22, 2015

8th Grade Promotion

It is the end of an era. It’s the end of middle school.

This was our first 8th grade promotion ceremony , so we’re newbies. For those in our district that come after us, here’s your primer. You’re welcome. And to Dori’s grandparents, you’re very glad you didn’t fly in for this one. 

This is what the principal sent to us by email about the ceremony: “Space in the high school is VERY limited.  We have 262 students plus faculty to seat with a capacity of 1000 available seats. We ask that seats in the auditorium be reserved for parents of students.  Additional seating will be available in Cafeteria B that will contain a live video feed of the ceremony. Please be mindful of this when inviting family or friends to this event. The auditorium will be open at 6:15 p.m. to begin seating guests.”

Let’s break this down. I read this email as saying that the auditorium would open to parents at 6:15, the same time that 8th graders had to be at school. Apparently I didn’t get the other memo, because the entire downstairs auditorium was at capacity by the time we arrived…at 6:15. Most of the seats had butts in them, and those that didn’t were being saved. For whom? Mostly grandparents, I’m guessing, judging from the number of grandparents already sitting there. I guess for Zack’s we’ll have to camp out for good seats.

Our view from the 2nd to last row in the balcony.

Our view from the 2nd to last row in the balcony.

We made our way up to the balcony, where we saw many more parents…and grandparents. We found seats in the second to last row of the balcony. I was grateful to get a seat. 45 minutes before the it started. The principal even made an announcement that there was a live video feed in the cafeteria and that seats should be given up for parents. I did not see one person move when he made that announcement. As I said on Facebook, you parents who took up the good seats for the grandparents and other guests, making 8th grade parents sit in the balcony (if they found seats at all) – you suck.

Okay, the ceremony was well done. I know you’re dying for the details. The kids had a procession across stage as they were brought in. This part was hilarious because they basically marched awkwardly across stage, not stopping to look at the audience, just making their way across as fast as they could while people clapped. They exited and took their assigned seats, while the chorus got ready to perform. There was singing (la la la), speeches (blah blah blah) and awards (smartly, no one was called up for these, they just stood in place).

Dori gets her certificate of promotion.

Dori gets her certificate of promotion. The vice principal’s sandals were almost identical to Dori’s which was quite horrifying to my daughter.

Then they gave the certificates of promotion. Sorry this picture is so blurry. I don’t have a massive telephoto lens. It’s hard to get a good shot from the back of the balcony! Though one parent apparently went up the aisle to his kid’s row during the principal’s closing remarks, and started taking pictures of his kid. The principal briefly stopped as the kids were snickering. I think the principal should have addressed him directly and told him to “sit down and shut up” like Chris Christie would have done. The kids were all appropriately horrified at this dad’s behavior.

The highlight of the certificate presentation was checking out all the cute dresses the girls wore, and seeing some of the swagger of both the boys and the girls. A few kids either did some elaborate fist pumping/hand jiving routines with the principal, or surprised him with a bear hug.

When this was all over (mercifully only about 70 minutes of ceremony plus 45 minutes waiting time in our seats) we were told to head to Cafeteria B to join what was probably three grandparents hanging out there, to get some refreshments.

Worse than Penn Station at rush hour

Worse than Penn Station at rush hour

Word to the wise. Tell you child to meet you outside the front of the high school. You exit from the auditorium, he/she exits the proper way for the students, and quickly walks around the school. The lines of people and the immense heat and lack of air flow to get through this long, winding hallway choked with humanity was worse than Penn Station at rush hour in 100 degree heat. It was HORRIBLE. And you couldn’t escape it once you were in that line. We found Dori about 15 minutes later and said there were no cookies good enough to get us into that cafeteria.


our destination

our destination

We were supposed to go through these doors into yet another horribly crowded overheated room to socialize. No thank you!


The ice cream truck was parked outside, which was a brilliant move. We would have gotten ice cream, except I already had purchased an ice cream cake.


This came with her promotion certificate. We figured she should save it, because it’s the closest thing to a varsity letter she’ll probably get in high school. Or maybe not. Stay tuned.


  1. Ha! Mazel tov to Dori and everyone who helped her get outta middle school. Hard to believe she’s a HS student … whoa. 😉 Can’t wait to see you!

  2. Wow. Big hugs and congrats to the new high schooler and her family!

  3. Such fun! Our 8th grade celebration used to face similar seating/climate issues for a class size of 303. We had our celebration ceremony at Mennen Arena. Plenty of seats, but tons of traffic to get there for 5:45. They did have hot dogs and pretzels for sale in the lobby…..
    Congratulations to Dori!

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