Hillside’s 8th-graders 2024 last hurrah

Editors note:  Last week, Ink Link published an adult’s perspective of  Hillside’s graduation. As we expand Ink Link’s Inkubator program, we will continue to add new voices, continuing to include more community members. Here now, is a student’s point of view of their graduation from Hillside Middle School.


As students lined up on the baseball field next to the Trinity Athletic Field, we ran to our friends, complimenting each other’s outfits, taking pictures, and preparing to enter the field where our families and friends would watch us graduate from middle school.

As we all walked on to the field we were greeted with cheers from the bleachers and the band kicking off the ceremony with a beautiful performance, directed by a seventh grade student. Mr. Redmond, the band teacher, played alongside the other seventh graders, showing how supportive the teachers at Hillside are of their students.


After the band’s performance, 8th grade chorus members sang “The Star Spangled Banner,” as their final performance for Hillside.

Two students were chosen to present speeches in front of the entire eighth grade and their families, reflecting on their time at Hillside, the lessons they learned, and words of advice for their peers. Everybody clapped and cheered, especially the students who showed a lot of support to their friends throughout all of the performances and the graduation ceremony.

Mr. McCafferty led everyone in a moment of silence to honor the people who weren’t able to attend the graduation. Students and families silenced respectfully.

Hillside had two award ceremonies

An awards ceremony was held on Wednesday for class awards. The gym was filled with the sound of students clapping and cheering for their friends. Everyone’s hands were raw from clapping so much.

During the graduation ceremony, two awards were given out. One was the Principal’s award, given to students who were extremely hard working, friendly to their teachers and peers, dedicated to the work they did, and made Hillside Middle School a better place during their time there. The other award that was given out was the Maggie Philbrook award, which honored a student who passed away who brought happiness and light wherever she went and put smiles on everyone’s faces. This award was given to two students who followed in her footsteps during their time at Hillside.

After the awards, we were called up by row to receive our graduation certificates and an envelope filled with $25, generously donated by the PTO. In the bleachers, families were clapping and cheering for their Hillside graduate.

After the graduation ceremony it was chaos. We were all packing up the chairs and looking for our parents through the crowd of people. After finding our families, many people were taking pictures and preparing for the dance that happened after.

Hillside 8th graders 2024 last hurrah
Las Vegas theme dance for the graduating 8th graders.

The lobby was decorated for the theme “Vegas Lights” with decorations created by the art department. There was a photo booth that many friends took pictures in and the cafe was filled with food. The line stretched to the back wall as everybody waited to get their hands on the vast selection of food donated by various businesses and teachers. Everybody cleaned up after themselves and were kind and respectful to the teachers serving food.  In the gym there was a DJ blasting music as we all met up with our friends, belted the songs, and danced.

As you can see, the Hillside Hawk community is very tight-knit and supportive of each other. This year’s eighth grade definitely left a lasting impression on our teachers and school. This was a fun way to end the night and our middle school years.


The Inkubator program is aimed at nurturing and growing New Hampshire’s local journalism ecosystem – support for educators, opportunities for students and pathways for future journalists, artists and creators. And beyond that, we want to engage our community in this process because together, we rise. Click here to make a tax-deductible contribution to the Inkubator.