MANCHESTER -- The Maple Street School of Manchester graduated a group of seven eighth-graders on Wednesday who spent a combined 59 years at the school.

Each of the students gave a speech reflecting their experiences at the school. "The speeches are my favorite part of this tradition," said head of school Dr. Fran Bisselle, who read a list of comments from teachers and staff members on each individual students. Of the graduates, Ian MacFarlane, Cody Goebel, Paige Marion, Liam Mooney, Nick Price, Jordan Ihasz, and Lily Thebault, most will be attending Burr and Burton Academy, with two moving on to the Stratton Mountain School, and one joining the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut.

Bisselle also took a moment to honor the five faculty members who were leaving the school: Christina Crawford, a co-founder and director of operations who will be pursuing her dream of becoming a nurse; Lisa Smith Edry, seventh grade homeroom teacher and science department chair; Mary Mangiacotti, fifth grade homeroom teacher and English department chair; Amy Panitz, fourth grade teacher; and Joan Roach, second grade teacher.

Mangiacotti, in her comments about MacFarlane, made sure to note that she would be following him to the Stratton Mountain School, to help him work on his essay-writing, which drew a laugh from the crowd.

The seventh grade was welcomed to the front of the auditorium to perform Vermont’s state song, "These Green Mountains.


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After diplomas were handed out, Bisselle wished the students the best by quoting Walt Whitman, "Beat, beat, drums -- blow, bugles, blow! Through the windows, through doors, burst like a ruthless force, into the solemn church, and scatter the congregation, into the school where the scholar is studying. Leave not the bridegroom quiet, no happiness must he have now with his bride, nor the peaceful farmer any peace, ploughing his field or gathering his grain, so fierce you whirr and pound you drums, so shrill you bugles blow."

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB