BY MARCY SHORTUSE – Five graduates headed toward the stage last Friday, June 5 at the Boca Grande Community Center Auditorium, while a full house of family and friends looked on. There were tears, as usual, and many smiles, as well as a few Broadway show tunes.
Ciera Combrink, Gabriela Crespo, Colton Diens, Kylie Robbins and Abbey Dewart will all be heading to middle school this fall, and their reactions are mixed.
Kylie, who has developed a passion for soccer, long-distance running and bicycling during her elementary years, has mixed feelings about leaving The Island School.
“I’m really sad about leaving,” she said. “It is such a great school! But even though I’m leaving I’m really excited about going into middle school. I wish I could stay, but I want to try a new school. I hope it will be just as good as TIS!”
Gabriela Crespo expressed similar feelings about graduating.
“I’m so glad to be done with elementary school,” she said. “But I will miss Mrs. Thompson, Ms. Edwards and all the other teachers. But I can’t wait to meet new friends!”
During the graduation ceremony music teacher Diana Donlon had every grade entertaining the audience with some relatively intricate and impressive show tune work. It was obvious from the start that the children were enthused to learn the songs, which included “Button Up Your Overcoat,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and “All That Jazz.”
At the end of the ceremony Donlon continued with her tradition of having all service members, retired or active, stand to be recognized. The children then sang “Grand Old Flag” in their honor.
Mark Teaney, president of the school’s PTO, also presented teaching assistant Karen Kelley with a plaque for all of her hard work. She has been with TIS since the very beginning, as has teacher Anne Edwards. Karen has a hand in every miscellaneous project the children participate in, from the Friendship Dance to every school play, as well as field trips and fundraisers.
Next year, 60 students, a maximum roll, will be attending The Island School. Head-of-School Jean Thompson is thrilled to have such a positive response to the school, but she, too, will miss the graduating class.
“I am so proud of our graduates,” she said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to be part of their lives. I have enjoyed watching them learn, grow and develop into amazing individuals. They are excited and prepared for the next step in their journey! Next year we have a full school and a growing wait list. As of now we have 11 students entering fifth grade next year. It is going to be a great year!”
School will resume on August 24 of this year.