Wilmette, Community

Don’t Forget ‘Em: Eighth-graders a vital part of commencement season

The class of 2028 is ready for high school, but not without a celebration first.

Eighth grade graduation is a long-standing tradition in the North Shore and beyond, marking the transition from grade school to high school. While entering high school can be daunting for the rising freshmen, graduation celebrations bring families and communities together to celebrate the end of one journey and the start of another.

Wilmette Junior High School

Wilmette Jr. High School graduates take part in annual tradition.

Wilmette Junior High School in District 39 held its annual eighth grade graduation on June 5. This year, the graduates crossed the stage at the new gymnasium at New Trier’s Winnetka campus. 

Marie Murphy School

Marie Murphy graduates crossed the stage in New Trier’s Cornog Auditorium on June 5 in Northfield. | Photo from Marie Murphy

Meanwhile, at the New Trier’s Northfield campus, Marie Murphy held its graduation ceremony at Cornog Auditorium on June 5. 

Speeches from School board member Dorothy Elfring, Board President Dr. Sumitrajit Dhar and Superintendent Dr. Kaine Osburn amplified the work of the graduating class and their impact on the district. 

This marks Osburn’s last graduation as he is set to retire on July 1, yet his school spirit rang through during his speech.

Joseph Sears School

Sears eighth-graders during the graduation exercises May 30. | Photo submitted

Eighth grade graduation is one of Kenilworth’s most timeless traditions. The Joseph Sears School held its graduation reception and ceremony on May 30 at the school. The graduating class, consisting of 40 students, then participated in the annual car parade following the ceremony.

According to the description on the Sears website, the graduates are paraded around the village in special vehicles typically driven by their parents or relatives. The parade welcomes the Kenilworth community to celebrate the students’ achievements.

North Shore Country Day School

Graduates at North Shore Country Day School line the steps of the school for 8th grade promotion on June 5. | Photo by Thomas at TK Photography

At North Shore Country Day School, eighth-graders participate in a promotion ceremony. This year’s event, which included 53 graduates, was held on June 5 in the school’s auditorium.

The promotion ceremony serves as an opportunity for students to share their experiences at NSCD with their peers. Many students take the time to reflect on their fond memories through spoken word, song or poetry.

Graduate Vikram Kelly shakes Head of School Tom Flemma’s hand. | Photo from North Shore Country Day School.

Following this, Head of the Middle School Timothy Sheehan also took to the stage to share some words. 

“In their time in the middle school, this group has demonstrated kindness effortlessly,” Sheehan, the father of two graduates, said. “What has kept us — the faculty, your parents and the younger grades — awestruck about you is how consistently, reliable and seemingly effortlessly you have shown kindness to each other, to your school and by example.”

Carleton Washburne School

Carleton Washburne School graduates gather at New Trier’s Winnetka Campus on June 12. | Photo from Carleton Washburne School

Winnetka’s Carleton Washburne School celebrated its eighth-graders on June 12 with a ceremony held at New Trier’s Winnetka Campus. 

During his speech, Washburne Principal Dr. Andrew Fenton commended the eighth-graders’ impact in District 36.

“Your kindness was also often on full display with your peers,” Fenton said. “Whether it was stepping up to help a friend who was too nervous to give a presentation, or encouraging and celebrating a classmate, even if they got an award or honor you wanted.”

Fenton also celebrated the commitment of service among the graduating class. In his speech, he highlighted service projects, including the dance marathon and work for the Northwestern Settlement house. The students also took part in project-based learning activities for Pickles, a nonprofit supporting children impacted by cancer.

Central School

Central School graduates gather on the school’s lawn for June 6 graduation ceremony. | Photo from Central School

Central School in Glencoe held its annual graduation ceremony on June 6. Approximately 138 students crossed the stage on the lawn of Central School.

The ceremony included a speech from Alexis Kaplan, the eighth-grade class president. The administration and David Napier, the vice president of the board of education, praised the growth and curiosity of this class.

Edgewood and Northwood middle schools

Eighth-graders from Edgewood Middle School take part in graduation at Deerfield High School on June 3. | Photos by Susan Ryan Kalina

North Shore District 112 in Highland Park honored all of its eighth-grade graduates on June 3. Graduates from Edgewood Middle School were honored in the Deerfield High School gym, while Northwood Middle School held its graduation in the high school’s auditorium.

Graduates from Northwood Middle School take to the stage in Deerfield High School for graduation on June 3.

Each featured speeches from Superintendent Dr. Michael Lubelfeld and their respective principals, Louis Kotvis from Edgewood and Will Kaplan from Northwood. Together the two schools celebrated 377 graduates.

The Record is a nonprofit, nonpartisan community newsroom that relies on reader support to fuel its independent local journalism.

Subscribe to The Record to fund responsible news coverage for your community.

Already a subscriber? You can make a tax-deductible donation at any time.

Cleo Pool

Related Stories