More than 200 eighth graders said goodbye to John J. Ahern Middle School last Friday morning at a promotion ceremony in the school gymnasium.

“It’s a privilege to be able to participate with families in the growth of our students,” Ahern principal Susan Abrams said to a packed house of parents, siblings and relatives. “Middle school, the 10-14 age span, has its own unique characteristics and all of us at the middle school love watching our students grow and enjoy giving them tools for their future success. For us, it’s ‘the best of times.”

The majority will be entering Foxboro High School in the fall.

Recipients of class day awards were announced and classroom teachers read their students’ names and presented certificates to each student.

“We’re so proud of Bella and all she has accomplished,” said Danielle Thomas, mother of eighth-grader Bella Thomas.

John Davey, father of Hope Davey, said “So proud of my brilliant and beautiful girl.”

Hope, who received presidential achievement awards, will be attending Norfolk County Agricultural High School next year.

“I have had a great four years in the Ahern, but I’m so excited for the next four years of high school to come,” said graduate Nora Tanious, displaying her certificates. “I’m so thankful for all my friends.”

Renee Leatherwood, who is moving on to the FHS in fall, said she had ups and downs in middle school, but she is thankful for all of her friends and the things that have happened.

“I’m so ready for what is to come,” said Leatherwood.

Gabi Polanco didn’t find schoolwork easy, but said she learned a lot.

“I can’t wait to meet new people and new teachers but I’m going to miss my friends and teachers and saying goodbye to them,” she said.

Aminah Marsh and Naliah Sanders, two students who attend Foxboro schools through the Metco program, were among those receiving promotional certificates. Both will attend Foxboro High School in the fall.

Jesenia Castro, director of the joint Walpole/Foxboro Metco program, offered congratulations.

“Great opportunities await you at Foxboro High School,” she said.

Foxboro school superintendent Amy Berdos added congratulations of her own.

“Transitioning from middle school to high school is an exciting time,” Berdos said. “It’s a time for students to continue to grow in their learning and an opportunity to explore new interests. I look forward to watching them on their journey and I know they will continue to make us all proud.”

Rick Foster can be reached at 508-236-0360.