Harborview students earn 'promotion'

Posted: Wednesday, May 28, 2008

School's out for summer today for about 5,000 Juneau School District students.

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Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire
Brian Wallace / Juneau Empire

An annual rite was celebrated Tuesday at Harborview Elementary School during a "promotion" ceremony for fifth-grade students that are moving on to middle school.

The soon-to-be sixth-graders paraded into the school's gym to the tune of the favored graduation march, "Pomp and Circumstance." The students were dressed in their Sunday best and wore buttoneers and corsages and colorful scarves to spice up their outfits. Parents and grandparents, some of them misty-eyed, looked on as the students completed the first major phase of their education.

School psychologist Doug Wessen, who is retiring, told the students that the day was "a big deal." He said the foundation of their education had been set and it would serve them well for the rest of their time in school and beyond.

"You've had the talk about boys and girls and how they're different," Wessen said. "I hope you were paying attention."

Wesson added that the transition to middle school may be intimidating, but told the kids not to worry.

"As soon as you figure out that locker combination, you'll be OK," he said.

Student Ben Scudder said he was excited about going to middle school but was aware that he was "going to the bottom of the food chain" next year.

"Of course, we'd like to freeze him in a time capsule," said his mother, Susan Murray. But, she said, she knew that her son was ready to move on and grow up.

Ben's teacher, Lucy Potter, said it was "bittersweet" to see her students move on to middle school. She said she's always a bit nervous for how her students will fair at the next level.

"Some you know are going to be successful," Potter said. "And some you just cross your fingers."

After Tuesday's ceremony, students, family and educators celebrated outside in Harborview's courtyard.

As students ran around, ate snacks and had their pictures taken, student Yana Warner said she would "miss the spirit" of Harborview.

"Everyone's so hyper and stuff," she said.

• Contact reporter Alan Suderman at 523-2268 or e-mail alan.suderman@juneauempire.com.

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