By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
VENTNOR – Students at the Ventnor Middle School enjoyed their SuperExtravaganza Tuesday, June 21 just hours before the eighth graders had their graduation ceremony on the lawn outside the school.
The event, which was not held for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was organized by sixth grade language arts and social studies teacher Kristin Aponte. It included bouncy rides, games, burgers, drinks, music and prizes.
“It’s our 15th year, but only the 13th celebration because of the COVID pandemic,” she said. “It’s for all of our middle school students who went through the year without a discipline referral.”
Students who were unable to attend were indoors enjoying a movie, she said.
Aponte raised the funds and food needed for the celebration by contacting local businesses, all of whom were credited on a poster attached to the Middle School entrance sign. The city’s Police and Fire Departments also contributed to the event, and a movie day was held during the school year to raise money to purchase the prizes.
“This is mostly funded by the community. Without our sponsors, we can’t have this,” she said pointing to all the activities going on.
The cookout, which included cheeseburgers and all the fixings, was made possible by teachers Mark Boothby and Russ Freeman. Band/music teacher Evan Shea was spinning the hits.
Students participated in the games to win tickets, which they redeemed for neat prizes, such as art supplies, stuffed animals, earphones and other items purchased at Five Below or donated by area businesses. Students were lined up for the ring toss game, which provided the most tickets for winning.
Eighth grader Jack Shelley, who would attend commencement at 1 p.m., said he was having fun, but it was a somewhat sad day.
“It’s so sad because I’ve been in this school my whole life and it’s sad to have to leave,” he said.
However, he said he is looking forward to the next phase of his educational career at Mainland Regional High School, where he plans to go well in academics and participate in sports.
“It will be sad leaving because we’re all going to different high schools,” graduate Sofia Vitanza said. “Our friends group might break up.”
At least part of the group will be staying together, however.
Sofia will be attending Holy Spirit High School with one of her ‘friends group’ besties, Taylor Ebert.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new friends at Holy Spirit, but I’m sad about leaving the people I was friends with for the last nine years,” Taylor said.
Students were also able to get temporary tattoos. A favorite among the older students was the graduation tattoo.
In addition to eating hamburgers, some students participated in the watermelon eating contest, which also provided tickets to redeem for the winners.
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