POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. – The 22 students in the Pocantico Hills Central School District's eighth-grade class said after spending nearly a decade together, Wednesday's graduation ceremony was bittersweet.
“We are family, we are friends and we are the class of 2012,” class President Rachel Julie said.
Students, faculty and parents gathered at the Pocantico Hills school in the humid evening hours. The outdoor ceremony was held at the back of the school between the building and a small pond. School officials handed out diplomas and individual academic awards while the sixth- and seventh-grade band performed.
Next year, students will head to a variety of high schools in the area: Maria Regina High School, Pleasantville High School, Briarcliff High School and Sleepy Hollow High School. Pocantico Hills does not offer classes above eighth grade.
“Wherever the world may lead us, we will never forget Pocantico Hills,” Julie said.
Fellow graduate Sabine Poux begin her speech by quoting Martin Luther King.
“Free at last,” she said before thanking teachers and her fellow students for her time in the district.
Poux said the size of the school district meant she and her fellow students became one big family.
“In a class of 22, we're pretty much stuck with each other,” she said.
The friendships they made, Poux said, are the most important thing students will take from their time in Pocantico Hills. She described graduation as the “breaking up of the family,” but said the school has prepared students enough to continue on to new adventures.
Superintendent Valencia Douglas said graduating students will always have a home in Pocantico Hills.
“You are our jewels,” she said.