Mahoning Elementary School recently held its annual Moving Up Program, which serves as a rite of passage for students transitioning from elementary school to Lehighton Area Middle School next year.

The Moving Up Program is sponsored by the PTO and the parents of the Mahoning Elementary fourth grade students. The PTO presents to the students gym bags which will be used in the middle school and the parents purchase the decorations, food, and certificates for the event.

"This class is very special to me," said Principal Aaron Sebelin. "I have been with the school district for five years and this is the first class that began with me at Lehighton. I can remember each student and have special memories with them over the course of their elementary years."

Along with fourth grade teachers Rhonda Rupell and Kira Stahler, Sebelin presented the following awards:

President's Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence is awarded to fourth grade students who have received a score in the advanced levels on both reading and math on their third grade Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) tests. The recipients each received a certificate signed by President Barack Obama and a lapel pin. The students who received this recognition are Samantha Banning, Elizabeth Eckhart, Samuel Maholick, Victor McCandless, Emma McClafferty, Tyler Motzkus, CaraAnna Palumbo, Joshua Pickerin, Shawn Truhe, and Chris Whiteman.

President's Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement is awarded to recognize students who show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment or intellectual development in their academic subjects. Recipients each received a certificate signed by President Obama. The students who received this recognition are Robert Bush, Sarah Giordano, Alex Hawk, Hannah Johnson, Keegan Quinn, Amya Quinones, and Natalie Smith.

Senator David Argall Good Citizenship Award is presented to fourth grade students who have demonstrated qualities of good citizenship through display of character, leadership, scholarship and acceptance of responsibility. Recipients of this award are selected by their teachers.The students who received this recognition are Samantha Banning, Charles Daniels, Elizabeth Eckhart, and Chris Whiteman.

The students themselves selected the following class awards:

Artistic – Daniel Brown, Keegan Quinn, and Antoinette Verta.

Athletic – Charles Daniels, Elizabeth Eckhart, Stephen Heery, Audrey Schaeffer, and Tahmir Spencer.

Comedian – Nathan Nansteel and Shawn Truhe.

Friendliest – Harry Gordon, Alex Hawk, Lily Hutton, and Hannah Johnson.

Math Whiz – Ralph Fahringer, Victor McCandless, and CaraAnna Palumbo.

Musical – Miranda Pettit and Joshua Pickerin.

Nicest Eyes – Cameron Berger, Katharine Dowbachuk, Hailley Hentosh, and Aaron Whitney.

Scientific – Samuel Maholick, Tyler Motzkus, and Stephanie Reeves.

Studious – Samantha Banning, Emma McClafferty, and Chris Whiteman.

Talkative – Robert Bush, Kelsey Knappenberger, and Dustin Miller.

Quietest – Wade Keeler, Amya Quinones, and Alison Steigerwalt.

Nicest Smile – Sarah Giordano, Natalie Smith, and Rose Varano.

Newest Additions – Courtney Bonetsky and Andrew Hildebrant.

Following the award presentations, music teacher Stephanie Kulpa led the students in a rendition of the "Farewell Song." The Moving Up Program concluded with "Mahoning Memories" – a presentation of photos of the students through the years, put to music.

Sebelin advised the Class of 2019, "Remember your elementary years, the skills you have learned, and the special memories you've made.

Strive to always do your best and never settle for second best."