Eighth grade end of year activities look different in 2021

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Mahika Dang and Grace Koetje

COVID-19 has been an issue for over a year now, but what does this mean for the eighth grade graduating class? Edison Intermediate School (EIS) has always tried to make this time of year special for eighth graders. Usually there is a promotion at the Westfield High School auditorium, but this year is different. Considering the circumstances, EIS has lots of ideas to make this a momentous celebration for eighth grade students, as well as keeping COVID-19 precautions. 

So what are the COVID-19 precautions? There have been a lot of recent studies to make life more like the old days. According to New Jersey COVID-19 Information Hub, “General outdoor gatherings must be limited to 200 people and social distancing must be practiced. On Friday, May 7, the general outdoor gathering limit will increase to a maximum of 500 people. Attendees or groups of attendees are required to remain six feet apart from other groups. If there is no unexpected surge in COVID-19 numbers, on Wednesday, May 19, the outdoor gathering limit will be removed.”

In view of this, the EIS eighth grade promotion can now hold up to 500 people. Dr. Matthew Bolton, principal of EIS, has intentions to follow these guidelines entirely, “while we believe that it is critical to recognize and celebrate this amazing group of students. We must do so in a safe way that is aligned with existing COVID-19 guidelines.”

The end of year eighth grade formal is another event that is looked forward to by the graduating class. This event is a dance for the eighth grade class and usually takes place in the gym. There is a DJ, food, and lots of fun. This year however, there will not be a formal dance at EIS, since it is difficult to keep COVID-19 guidelines in these types of events. Mrs. Marsh mentioned, “Unfortunately, this year we will not be moving forward with a school sponsored 8th grade formal. Part of the dance is food and we aren’t even doing lunch this year so that is one of the challenges.” 

Lots of students are very disappointed that this annual event won’t be possible for their eighth grade year. The staff and parent volunteers at EIS have been very hard at work trying to make an alternative event that is a safe option with CoronaVirus. Some things that Student Government Association (SGA) eighth grade member Michael Fisher brought up were, “As of what I know right now there are a few things planned for EIS promotion. There is not going to be a formal unfortunately. For promotion there is going to be a performance from the 8th grade band, 8th grade chorus, and probably the jazz band. There will also be a speech from one of the SGA students. One idea for activities instead of formal is a movie night outside for the entire school.” 

This year’s promotion was explained by SGA advisor Mr. Cusumano, “There will be an eighth grade promotion. It happens every year and this year will be slightly different. We will go over to Kehler Field to recognize students. The promotion will be at 11am on June 22nd. One of the 8th grade governors will give a speech. At the event there will be awards given to students who have done great things over their time here at Edison.”

Overall, this year is going to be much different than all other years. Despite this difference, EIS is going to make eighth grade students know that they are valuable and appreciated during these difficult times. During promotion, the eighth graders will be wearing matching EIS masks that say class of 2025 on them purchased as a gift from the PTSO. The class also received EIS t-shirts to promote solidarity during the last week of school.