District 58 celebrates eighth graders during Virtual Promotion Ceremonies

Downers Grove Grade School District 58 congratulates Herrick Middle School and O’Neill Middle School eighth graders on their promotion to high school! The schools held Virtual Promotion Ceremonies on Tuesday, June 2. 

Both ceremonies opened with greetings by Superintendent Dr. Kevin Russell and each school’s respective principal — O’Neill Principal Matt Durbala and Herrick Principal Amy Read.

Herrick’s Promotion Ceremony continued with the Pledge of Allegiance by Seventh Grade Student Council Vice President Laura O’Neill, followed by two class addresses. Eighth Grade Student Council Vice President Isabel Landman presented “Seventh Grade Adventures” and Student Council President Pallavi Fisher presented “A Look Back on Eighth Grade.” 

Social Studies Teacher Jay Swanstrom presented this year’s Herrick American Legion Awards to Pallavi Fisher and Matthew Sirota.

English-Language Arts Teacher Megan Winthrop typically presents the Barb Blumenschein Awards to students who exhibit character and involvement in the classroom setting. She announced that Herrick would be foregoing the award this year, and instead Herrick would focus its efforts on supporting Herrick families in need through the Bloom Angel’s program. The Barb Blumenschein Award and the Bloom’s Angels service group are both named in honor of former beloved Herrick teacher Barb Blumenschein, who passed away in 2005.

O’Neill’s Promotion Ceremony included the Pledge of Allegiance by Student Council Vice President Emily Malorny and a Class of 2020 Address presented by Student Council President Audrey Curulewski.

Principal Matt Durbala presented the Pride of O’Neill Certificates to Ella Cushing and Matthew Passo, and the American Legion Awards to Carson Kass and Hannah Venzon.

During both ceremonies, the Herrick and O’Neill choirs gave a beautiful combined virtual performance of “Don’t Give Up on Me” by Andy Grammer. The Herrick Choir is directed by Eareen Yambao, and the O’Neill Choir is directed by Janet Hecht.

Afterward, each school led a virtual Procession of the Class of 2020, during which each eighth grader was named and celebrated.

District 58 thanks District Instructional Coaches Jenny Lehotsky and Megan Ryder, as well as Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Learning Dr. James Eichmiller, for producing this year’s Virtual Promotion Ceremonies.