VCS campus parade honors outgoing middle school students

Madison Ward, center, receives her eighth-grade diploma and awards during the eighth-grade promotion parade.

The traditional walk across a stage was substituted for a front-seat cruise around campus. But the message offered Thursday morning at The Villages Charter Middle School was the same. “Our kids are the best,” said Sharis Kirkland, an ESE support facilitator at the school. “They’re super-special and they deserve this.” Kirkland was just one of dozens of faculty members and school administrators on hand to celebrate graduating eighth-graders — the future Class of 2024 — in a car parade that snaked its way throughout the campus.

The soon-to-be high school freshmen rode along a route that wound its way behind the school’s athletic fields before eventually curving through the parent pick-up and drop-off area. Teachers stood all along the circuit offering cheers and words of encouragement — some wearing face paint and school-themed outfits — as they bid farewell to the outgoing eighth-grade class.

“I know all of our teachers and fellow staff really appreciate the opportunity to come out here and do this for the kids,” said Chris Anderson, the school’s athletic director. “Being able to celebrate what they’ve accomplished — even if the times don’t call for what we would normally do — it’s something that we can really appreciate.”

A total of 222 eighth-graders participated in the parade, which took the place of a traditional assembly-like promotion event.

Read this story and many others in Saturday’s edition of the Daily Sun.