MARGATE – Under a bright blue sky on the athletic field at the Eugene A. Tighe Middle School Wednesday afternoon, 49 eighth graders switched their tassels signaling their promotion to their high school years. Principal Ryan Gaskill encouraged them to “show up and be authentic” as they face the new challenges bound to come their way.

Student Brooke Swift opened the ceremony by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and Siena Eden sang the National Anthem, while several hundred parents, grandparents and friends stood at attention.

National Junior Honor Society President Grace Fishbein talked about the society’s five pillars of success: scholarship, leadership, citizenship, service and character.

“How my fellow graduates and I decide to incorporate these pillars into our lives will determine the path each of us will take in our futures,” she said, encouraging her classmates to savor the meaning of each pillar.

She said they should make a commitment to learning, be a trend setter instead of a follower, give back to those in need, have respect for the law, and be honest, reliable, caring and have respect for others.

“I encourage you to consider displaying these pillars in your lives after today, because I know every single one of you has the potential to be very successful,” she said.

Before presenting the Mayor’s Award, Mayor Michael Becker noted it was the 36th eight grade graduation he has attended, 22 of them as a member of the Board of Education and the last 14 as mayor.

“My excitement never changes,” he said, stating there is nothing more important to him than providing Margate’s children with the resources they need to learn.

“They are our future,” he said. “Thank you to the parents for sending us such great children.”

Commissioner John Amodeo recalled when the school opened 57 years ago and the memories he made with friends over his nine years attending the Margate schools.

“The friendships you made here will be with you for the rest of your lives, as they are in mine,” he said, thanking the teachers for being good role models. He paid tribute to teacher and former Principal Mr. Mosca for being his role model.

He said the students survived the last 14 months of challenges including remote learning, social distancing and mask wearing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“You did it, and came out all as winners,” he said.

Keynote speaker Christopher Garabrant said, “It’s a good day to graduate,” before recapping nine years of education in the Margate schools.

He quoted Albert Einstein, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow,” saying his classmates created memories that will last a lifetime and overcame all types of obstacles, including Hurricane Sandy, virtual learning and a worldwide pandemic.

“We have overcome all of these events together. Therefore, in 10 years when we look back on our childhood, we should remember how as a whole we overcame all of the events thrown at us,” he said.

Looking to the future, his peers will continue to face obstacles, he said, but, “It is those times where we need to decide who we are and what we want to make of ourselves. Remember we are all strong and capable of anything.”

Gaskill provided some sound advice, encouraging the students to “show up and be authentic.”

“Just showing up increases your odds of success…but when you make the choice to not show up, you have zero chance of success,” he said. “And when you are there, when you decide to show up – be yourself, be authentic. The people who matter, the people who truly care in your life, they love who you are, they don’t want you to be anyone else.”

Tighe School Class of 2021

Chase Robert Rubenstein

Cameron James Falso
William Francis Dilorenzo
Alexis Rose Gormley
Greyson James Aftanis
Mason Michael Forte
James Field Barkalow IV
Kyler Jackson Rush
Hercules Dorn Stewart IV
Brayden Beloshapka
Angelica Marisol Shafman
Olivia DaLynn Stone
Lauren Kathleen Fox
Rocco Anthony Santoro
Thomas E. Holton V
Luke Timothy Collins
Kannon Kale Tripician
Sean Rogers Eden
Peyton Patrick Reid
Thomas Joseph Armstrong
Michael Salvatore Russomano
Kieran Evelyn Brewster
Bridget Harmony Roach
Grace Emma Fishbein
Kamryn Kelly Smallwood
Brooke Ranae Swift
Hannah Paige Gaskill
Isabella Rosa Casale
Ella Kelly O’Donnell
Chloé Connors
Jack Baxter Green
Anthony Joseph-Evo Falvo
Mick Tanner Green
Paisley Claire Reily
Ryan Dorothy Cooke
Ava Marie Catona
Christopher Andrew Garrabrant
Eileen Melody Roach
Reed August Burns
Kal Elias Heyman
Zuzanna D. Turska
Marissa Isabella Carday
Noah A. Cutler
Fabio Andres Orozco
Gavin Blase Tomaselli
Brynn Catena Culmone
Siena Marie Eden
Avery Rose Silva
Hailey Elizabeth Hallissey
Categories: Margate

Nanette LoBiondo Galloway

Award winning journalist covering news, events and people of Atlantic County for more than 20 years.