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Eighth Graders Step Up at Graduation Ceremony

Rudy Brandl

The Class of 2026 completed its Middle School journey during the Stepping Up Ceremony on Wednesday, June 8 in the Berry Performing Arts Center.

The morning event began with a processional to Rondeau and continued with the Pledge of Allegiance and everyone singing America the Beautiful. Jennifer Rose, Middle School Head, welcomed the students, parents, friends and other members of the W+H community.

Andrew Webster, Head of School, began the announcement of award winners by presenting merit scholarship awards to Braelyn Brandl and Dharren Culver and achievement scholarship awards to CJ Strauss and Yash Sachan. Mr. Webster also recognized the lifers among this year's eighth grade graduates.

Sophia Fontaine presented the Streib Cup to seventh-grader Cameron Williams. This award is given for the highest achievement in public speaking among sixth and seventh graders. 

Dharren Culver, who won the prestigious Kilpatrick Award presented to the best all-around eighth grade student, also represented his class as the eighth grade speaker. Criteria for this award include academics, athletics, citizenship and leadership. Yash Sachan won the Chandler Award for the eighth grade student with the highest overall average for the academic year. Justin Lustgarten received the Elwell Award as the outstanding male athlete and Charlotte Szczubelek ’26 won the Lum Award as the outstanding female athlete.

Sofia Romero and Yash Sachan won the Althea Marder Pond Award for outstanding work in the fine arts, while Sophia Fontaine won the Althea Marder Pond Award for excellence in the performing arts. Debra Adetola, Braelyn Brandl, Mohisha Jha, Julian Martinez, Aryan Nair and Mackias Ysaac received Community Service Awards. Kirstin Rogers recognized eighth grade student council members Debra Adetola, Braelyn Brandl, Sabela Malki, Julian Martinez, Cydney Strauss and Mackias Ysaac with special pins.

Ms. Rose made remarks and provided some words of wisdom before joining Mr. Webster and advisors Erika Del Rocco, Jeffrey Martin and Eighth Grade Coordinator Noreen Jafri in the presentation of certificates.

Congratulations to the Eighth Grade Class of 2022!