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Tolt Celebrates the Class of 2027 with Annual 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony


Portions of Tolt Middle School's 2023 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony are available in the video above.


On Thursday, June 22, 2023, Tolt Middle School hosted their annual 8th Grade Moving Up Ceremony. The event, held in-person at Cedarcrest High School, honored and recognized this year’s Tolt 8th graders in the Class of 2027.


Hosted by Tolt interim principal Scott Petersen, and featuring teachers, staff, and administrators presenting awards of merit and recognition to Tolt students, the event culminated in a promotion to high school of approximately 220 Tolt Bears.


The ceremony featured wonderful performances from Tolt’s band and choir. Following opening remarks from Mr. Petersen, English Language Arts teacher David Nordmark introduced the 2023 Student Awards, voted on by their peers. In a variety of fun and unique categories, recipients included:

  • Most Reliable – Aiden Valentine

  • Most Likely to win Survivor – Brayden Majerle

  • Most Likely to be on Ninja Warrior – Diego Briseno

  • Most Likely to be on Top Chef – Benny Bonifant

  • Most Likely to Audition for America’s Got Talent – Ben Langley

  • Most Genuine – Roger Ruiz

  • Most Likely to Do Something for the Betterment of the World – Leighton Thompson

  • Most Likely to Start or Join a Band – Ethan Galvez

  • Most Likely to Walk on Mars – Grady Burke

  • Most Likely to Have the Most Subscribers/Followers on Social Media – Brandon Pena

Mr. Nordmark then congratulated Ian Nachreiner on being chosen as Class Speaker.


Awards continued, celebrating achievement in Art, Music, Physical Education, Technology and Engineering, Spanish Language, and academic success and individual initiative. Karen Maguigad, Assistant Principal, announced the recipients for the Presidential Award for Educational Excellence, recognizing students who maintained a GPA of 3.5 or above and scored in the 90th percentile on the Math and Reading MAP test. She then followed by announcing recipients of the Presidential Award for Educational Achievement, honoring students who showed outstanding educational growth, improvement and development.

The centerpiece of the event came when Mrs. Maguigad introduced Nachreiner. In his remarks, he reflected on the experiences he and his classmates had during middle school, while also thinking about what high school will mean to those moving up from Tolt.


“Tolt has been fun. As much as I can’t wait to move on to Cedarcrest, I am still struggling to leave this school,” Nachreiner shared. “We are going to be high schoolers soon. All of us are at a turning point in our lives. It is easy to look back at middle school as painful and a waste of time, but we also forget about all the great memories we have made.”


Each year, Tolt recognizes two “Students of the Year,” voted on by the entire Tolt staff. The “Student of the Year” honors students who have excelled in and out of the classroom and shown outstanding character during their time in middle school. This year’s honorees are Maia Guzman-Yepez and Paloma Sayyah.


The event next saw students honored individually, as teachers Scott Coats and Alecia Brooks announced the names of each student moving up from 8th grade to high school.


In his closing remarks, Mr. Petersen encouraged students to try new things in high school. “You are going to have lots of opportunities to get involved. Leadership is all about influence and impact. I encourage you to make your impact be for good and uplift those around you.”


Please join us in celebrating the Tolt Bears as they become Red Wolves and Ravens for their upcoming high school experience. And congratulations once again to the Tolt Middle School Class of 2027!


A full list of academic award recipients is provided below.


Tolt Students of the Year:

  • Maia Guzman-Yepez

  • Paloma Sayyah

Outstanding Musician Award - Band (presented by Mike Stone):

  • Paloma Sayyah

Outstanding Musician Award - Vocal/Choral (presented by Kim Snavely):

  • Lillian Lantz

Outstanding Achievement - Art (presented by Julie Lagace):

  • Margaret Horne

  • Aidan Miller

Technology & Engineering Awards (presented by Erik McFarland):

  • Ian Nachreiner

  • Talon Robertson

Physical Education Awards (presented by Kenneth Stull and Katy Lindell)

  • Emilson Gutierrez

  • Arielle Karp

Spanish Language Student Awards (presented by Alecia Brooks)

  • Braden Bottemiller

  • Alexa Weisgerber

8th Grade Core Content Awards (presented by Scott Coats and Quinn Thompson)

The Academic Achievement Award is staff-selected and recognizes students with a minimum of a 3.5 GPA, also requires excellent attendance and daily demonstration of the Tolt Points of Pride. Students are also selected for having an excellent attitude and ability to collaborate with others.


The Individual Initiative Award is staff-selected and recognizes students who consistently demonstrate the Tolt Points of Pride, while also showing significant growth in learning from consistently applying creative, problem-solving skills.


Academic Achievement

  • Violet Bryant

  • Kevin Hanson

  • Ella Henry

  • Kira Scarsella

  • Sysha Shaikh

  • Abigail Sommer

  • Leighton Thompson

Individual Initiative

  • Paityn Craig

  • Diesel Diligencia

  • Avrie Johnson

  • Lucas Pfeifle

Presidential Educational Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence (presented by Karen Maguigad)

For students to be eligible, they must have a 3.5 Cumulative GPA at Tolt and have received a recommendation from a Core and Elective teacher for demonstrating excellence in the classroom on assessments and projects.

  • Cody Bellecourt, Rebecca Case, Jack Daly, Shannon Davidson, Erin Free, Avery Ganson, Maia Guzman-Yepez, Lilia Hernandez, Arielle Karp, Kerttu Kuivalainen, Aiden McBride, Rowena McClary, Aidan Miller, Ian Nachreiner, Owen Nelson, Veranika Nikalayeva, Emily Pitman, Paloma Sayyah, Ronen Sherman, Elise Sjavik, Abigail Sommer, Wyatt Stalnaker, Leighton Thompson, Andrey Tsapin, Gavin Tusing, Afton Wheeler, Sophia Yim, Josie Yriondo.

Presidential Educational Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement (presented by Karen Maguigad)

Students earning this recognition show outstanding educational growth, improvement, commitment, or intellectual development in their academic subjects but do not meet the criteria for the Academic Excellence award.

  • Joaquin Arenas Buxton, Independence Charter, Paityn Craig, Diesel Diligencia, Angel Espejel, Ethan Galvez, Emilson Gutierrez, Cypher Harris, Kiley Hobbs, Margaret Horne, Avrie Johnson, Lucas Pfeifle, Micah Randall, Talon Robertson, Aiden Valentine, Sebastian Williams.

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