Eighth-Graders Promoted To The Big Leagues

Doing a jig after being promoted.

Photo by Michele Nelson. |

Doing a jig after being promoted.



Members of the Payson School Board and Superintendent Ron Hitchcock attended the Rim Country Middle School Promotion ceremonies last week, as 180 eight graders prepared for the big leap to High School.

Around Rim Country, mothers pulled out tissues to watch their children move on to the last and final step in their child’s K-12 education during eighth grade promotions.

In Pine, 17 students finished up the eighth grade to move on to high school next year. In Tonto Basin, a much smaller number celebrated promotion, but they were full of pride.

From Payson, more than 180 students walked across the stage to shake the hands of Principal Will Dunman, Vice-Principal Yvette Harpe, Superintendent Ron Hitchcock and the school board members to celebrate moving on to high school.


Jubilently waiting to become a freshman.

RCMS Eighth Grade Promotion

As usual, the Payson auditorium was standing room only for the annual promotion ceremony, filled with mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.

Student body president Lexi Campbell bravely welcomed the packed auditorium from the podium on the stage.

“We have made it through these years, years we call the middle school years, with a lot of drama — Oh! A lot of drama,” she said to her classmates. Everyone giggled in response.

She then thanked the parents, teachers and staff that helped through what she called, “Those crazy years.”

“I’ll see you on the other side, the side known as high school,” she finished up.

Principal Dunman, dressed nattily in dark suit, white shirt and tie took over for the shaking Lexi.

“Let’s give her another hand, she was very brave up here,” he said, “I saw her shaking a little bit.”

The administration had a lot of pride in this group of eighth-graders, the class had 14 students who received all As throughout their three years at the school. Harpe said no other class has had so many straight A students before.

Thomas Walling, the auditorium manager, said in the 10 years he has worked on eighth grade promotions, this class was the most polite and well behaved of any he has worked with.

Technology teachers Marlene Armstrong and her class put together an emotional slide show full of shots of the eighth grade students through the year.

“As you can see, this class had a lot of fun this year,” said Dunman before calling the students up on stage to walk across and move onto the next phase of their lives.

Pine-Strawberry Promotion

Fran Thus

Special to the Roundup

Pine Strawberry School had their eighth grade promotion on Friday, May 17. There were a total of 17 students promoted to Payson High School this year.

Those students promoted were:

Benjamin Abney

Sumer Aguon

Anastasia Bartusch

Jesse Blaauw

John Ellis Cluff

Daniel Copestick

Devin Duarte

Stephen Hein III

Zella Johnston

Matilda Kurtz

Justice McNeeley

Caleb Paine

Nathan Roeder

Janelle Slightam

Foxx Tanner

Bailee Taylor

Kara Ward

Two special awards were given out that night, The Louella Kleinz Leadership Award for Exceptional Leadership Qualities and High Academic Standards presented to Sumer Aguon and The Lisa Bartam Doherty Award for Courage, Discipline and Perseverance, presented to Anastasia Bartusch.


DJ Craig photo

David France

Tonto Basin Promotion

On May 22 at 6:30 p.m. the eighth grade students from Tonto Basin School celebrated finishing their elementary school days. Next year, the students from the tiny school with a little more than 60 students will attend Payson High School.


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