Marengo Elementary School promoted 153 fifth-graders Tuesday morning during a ceremony filled with class songs and student reflections held on the north end of the school’s playground.

The event kicked off just after 10 a.m. when the students made their way in pairs through an overflowing crowd of parents, teachers and South Pasadena Unified School District administrators that included Superintendent Dr. Geoff Yantz and members of the Board of Education. Following a flag salute and a rendition of the national anthem by a student violi quartet, Principal Patricia Cheadle delivered remarks to the Class of 2019.

“It has been a pleasure to serve as your principal and to see you grow with each new experience and challenge you have faced,” Cheadle said. “[Assistant Principal] Mrs. (Katy) Nielsen and I encourage you to always practice positive Marengo character when you set goals, make decisions and work with others. Don’t forget to be safe, responsible and respectful. We will miss you so much but we know you will continue to make us proud.”

After a performance by the Marengo Band, First Semester Student Body President Violet Chin recapped her six years as a Lion and congratulated her classmates for their accomplishments in making it through elementary school. Chin’s speech elicited laughter with her reflections on the challenging placement testing she underwent as a fifth-grader. “The placement testing was one of the scariest tests of my life,” she said, before turning to her classmates on the stage behind her, “but hey guys, we got through it and now it’s just a bad memory.”

The class then sang along to “Thunder,” by Imagine Dragons and “Tour the States,” by Renald Rancoeur. They would also perform “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars, “A Million Dreams” from “The Greatest Showman,” and “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco later in the morning.

The ceremony also included a speech by Second Semester Student Body President Natalia Rodak, who acknowledged that the transition to middle school wouldn’t be without its downsides. To the chagrin of the audience, Rodak lamented some of the impending changes to her school day: “Going to school earlier, more homework and no recesses – lunches don’t count as recesses! Instead, let’s just stay in fifth grade.” She also said that her class is ready to be the change in the world. “Be the Change” was the theme of the ceremony. “Even just being there for someone or just inviting someone you don’t know to sit with you can make a difference,” Rodak said.

At Monterey Hills Elementary School, the promotion program “You Can Have It All!” was held June 3 with 123 fifth-graders. Students reflected on memories from first grade to fifth which included watching Reading Rainbow, making caramel apples, visiting the Glendale Observatory and Mission San Gabriel, a bowling party and dancing in the school’s annual Colonial Ball. The class sang “What A Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong, “Have It All” by Jason Mraz, “Hall of Fame” by The Script and “Swagnificent” by Blaze N Vill. The books “Hello Lighthouse” by Sophie Blackall and “Merci Suarez Changes Gears” by Meg Medina were presented as class gifts to the school by fifth-graders Elyse Mauer and Paul Na Pattalung.

At Arroyo Vista Elementary School, the promotion program “Dare to Dream” was held June 4 with 124 fifth-graders looking forward to middle school. A rainbow pathway led up to the stage surrounded by white balloon clouds and archways. Students shared gratitude for their teachers, parents and friends. They reflected on memories of accomplishing mile runs, understanding diversity, becoming brave, starting art classes, learning how to write stories and becoming more independent. The class sang “We Love AV” by David Plenn, adapted from “I Love L.A.” by Randy Newman, “This Is Me” from “The Greatest Showman,” “You Were The One” by David Plenn, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole and “High Hopes” by Panic! At the Disco.

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Harry Yadav has served as the Editor of the South Pasadena Review since January of 2018. Born and raised in South Pasadena, Harry graduated from South Pasadena High School in 2012, where he played golf and basketball and wrote for the Tiger newspaper. In 2016, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

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