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Coleytown Eighth-Graders Say Goodbye to Middle School

A graduating eighth-grader from Westport's Coleytown Middle School receives her eighth-grade certificate from Principal Kris Szabo Thursday night.
A graduating eighth-grader from Westport's Coleytown Middle School receives her eighth-grade certificate from Principal Kris Szabo Thursday night. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Graduating eighth-graders at Coleytown Middle School wait to receive their certificates during Thursday's commencement ceremony.
Graduating eighth-graders at Coleytown Middle School wait to receive their certificates during Thursday's commencement ceremony. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
One of the 172 Coleytown Middle School graduates receives his certificate Thursday night from Principal Kris Szabo.
One of the 172 Coleytown Middle School graduates receives his certificate Thursday night from Principal Kris Szabo. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari
Jenna Patterson gives a speech during the Coleytown Middle School eighth-grade commencement Thursday evening.
Jenna Patterson gives a speech during the Coleytown Middle School eighth-grade commencement Thursday evening. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. – High school is just around the corner for the 172 eighth-graders who graduated Thursday night from Westport’s Coleytown Middle School.

The middle school years, student Lauren Gottschalk said, are considered by many as the toughest years. Though at times it may have seemed as such, she said she and her classmates learned valuable life lessons over the three years at Coleytown.

"We have learned how to be respectful and what it takes to be a good friend," Lauren said. She also quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying “Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart.”

Jenna Patterson, student leader of the Tiger Team, agreed about the importance of friendship. She said there’s one word that perfectly describes the middle school experience: awkward.

“Middle school is incredibly awkward,” Jenna said to laughs from the hundreds of family and friends gathered in the school auditorium. “But that’s because we needed to find ourselves. We’ve become our own people, but we’re not done yet."

Telling her classmates that each is on his or own path, Jenna finished by quoting Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go.”

“You have brains in your head, you have feet in your shoes, you can steer yourself in any direction you choose,” Jenna read.

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