Students assembled in chairs in the MTHS auditorium. 270 eighth grade students participated in the 70th Annual Robert R. Lazar Middle School Promotion Ceremony on Wednesday, June 21, 2023.

The 70th Annual Robert R. Lazar Middle School Promotion Ceremony was held on Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at 6:00 p.m. In attendance were 270 eighth grade students.

The Lazar Symphonic Band, under the direction of Kenneth Korlishin and Thomas Sansone played Elgar’s POMP AND CIRCUMSTANCE as the 8th grade students entered the family-filled gymnasium.

During the ceremony, the Lazar Middle School Select Choir, directed by Jordon Green, performed THE NATIONAL ANTHEM and YOU WILL BE FOUND by Pasek and Paul.

“We are here to celebrate and honor the achievements of our students as they move from 8th grade to 9th and enter the high school stage of their academic careers,” Principal Michael Pasciuto said.

Throughout the nation, the 8th grade Class of 2023 began middle school virtually during the pandemic. For many, classes resumed as cohorts, in-person activities were limited, and returning to traditional school activities was a gradual process.

“For the first time in a few years, we are not going to discuss COVID and all the adversity, the challenges, the ups and downs, or any of the issues we faced.” Pasciuto explained. However, the principal did point out that there will always be challenges. “Your response to each and every challenge directly correlates to whether or not you are successful.”

“Success,” Pasciuto added “is defined by your ability to work toward a goal no matter how or what happens along the way. Success is defined by the relationships you create with others and the reputation you develop. It is defined by your ability to navigate life’s challenges and to persevere.”

Student Council President, Jhil Patel also addressed the 8th grade class.

“We were resilient and did not let obstacles stand in our way,” Patel reminded her peers, as she recounted their journey from the first day of middle school through to the evening’s promotion ceremony. “I am confident that whatever we need to do, we can do it.”

Patel made a point of thanking the teachers and staff of Lazar Middle School for being so supportive. She also thanked her fellow Student Council representatives for making the organization so much fun “while still remaining focused on our goal of service to community and school.”

The Morris County Superintendent’s Middle School Leadership Award was presented to Shehreen Syed. The award is given to a student whose serves as a positive role model and has had has a positive impact on their school environment. It was presented by Susan Rappaport.

The Lynette Berdej Award was given to Emme Hew. Berdej was a Lazar teacher. The award was presented to a student with compassion, determination, kindness and integrity. Michelle Trautman presented the award.

Jonathan Huppert presented the Todd Perrella Memorial Award to Jiedan Xiao. “This award is presented to a student who demonstrates determination and courage in the face of adversity, Huppert said.

Sophia Massefski received the 2023 Michelle Sullivan Memorial Award.

“This award is given to an 8th grade girl who reflects and embodies the very special qualities of Michelle Sullivan – a gentle, good-natured individual; responsible and diligent in work habits; a sensitive, involved and helpful peer,” explained Donna DeMarco as she present the award to Massefski.

Assistant Principal Michael Shera presented the Carol Lazar Snyder Memorial Award to Jovana Getova. The award was presented in memory of Robert R. Lazar’s daughter Carol. Robert Lazar is the former administrator for whom the Montville Township middle school is named.

“This award is presented to a student who embodies the qualities of kindness, generosity, helpfulness and well-rounded school citizenship,” Shera said.

The Presidential Gold Awards were presented by Assistant Principal John Piselli. These awards recognized students who earned an “A” in all subject areas during all three years at Robert R. Lazar Middle School. The recipients were: Emily Chen, William Deary, Cadence Ko, Samaya Lohani, Manya Madan, Samantha Reger, Eliana Sumka, Sara Tang, Connor Walch, and Vivian Wei.

Principal Pasciuto presented the Principal’s Leadership Award. Each year, the name of the recipient of this award is engraved on a nameplate and is placed on a plaque in the Lazar lobby. Pasciuto noted that his award is given to a good leader who supports the school community.

The 2023 Principal’s Leadership Award was given to Jhil Patel.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Gorman and Montville Township Board of Education President Dr. David Modrak joined Principal Pasciuto in shaking the hands of each of the Lazar Class of 2023 8th grade graduates.

TRUMPET VOLUNTARY by Clark was performed by the Lazar Symphonic Band as the Recessional.

The 70th Annual Robert R. Lazar Middle School Promotion Ceremony was held in the Montville Township High School gymnasium. The Robert R. Lazar 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony can be viewed on the Montville Township Public Schools YouTube Channel. 

The Lazar eighth grade students officially complete the academic year on June 22, 2023 with a final half-day of school.