Fitch Middle School celebrated its last eighth grade promotion ceremony Wednesday, marking the beginning of high school for 134 students and the closing of a building that has been a Groton school for 84 years.
“The building is a structure, It is what brought us all together,” Principal Robert Pendolphi told the eighth graders and hundreds of family, friends and staff packed in the auditorium. “Day in and day out, we came to Fitch Middle School. What goes on inside the building, the people, are what make Fitch Middle School stand out.”
Students said they would miss their middle school.
“It’s going to be really hard to say goodbye,” said Marena Dees, 14. “We’ve made lots of memories here.”
“I’ve made so many good friends, and it’s hard to let them go,” said Cathryn Wilson, 13.
Groton decided to close Fitch Middle this year to consolidate from three to two middle schools, use space more efficiently and save money. The remaining students at Fitch will be assigned to Cutler or West Side middle schools, which also held eighth grade promotion ceremonies Wednesday.
While Fitch will be closed as a middle school, it is expected to be used as swing space during construction of future schools.
Pendolphi will become principal of Cutler.
School Board Chairwoman Kirsten Hoyt, who has two children who attended Fitch Middle, told the eighth graders that in high school they’ll be asked to achieve more, believe more and care more.
“Do what you can to make the world a better place,” she said.
Interim Superintendent Randall Collins said the students should think of high school as a big birthday party, where every day they open a new present. Even if it’s not what they want, they can learn from it, he said.
“Don’t be afraid to make mistakes,” Collins said. “If you don’t make mistakes, you’re probably not learning.”