Heights eighth-graders take traditional graduation bike ride

Eighth-graders on their graduation bike ride to Spring Lake Heights Elementary School. COURTESY OF GINA BLACK

SPRING LAKE HEIGHTS — Spring Lake Heights Elementary School eighth-graders rode their bikes one last time to school on Monday, June 19, four days after their graduation ceremony in the James. J McAlary Jr. Gymnasium.

Wearing blue graduation t-shirts, 37 students traveled from a student’s home on Wall Road, to the school, escorted by police and cheered on by parents, friends and community members.

“It was our final goodbye,” said eight-grader David Smith, who regularly rode to class with friends during the school year. “Even though I am not that close with everyone, it was nice to see us all have fun and ride our bikes to school together.”

David‘s mother Meg Liberti and fellow eighth-grade parent Sue Hope planned the event, to give their children one last memory before moving up to high school next year.

The special day started at about 7:45 a.m., when the members of the graduating class met in the yard of the Hope’s home. There, the students were treated to bagels, fruit and juice before their departure. They posed for photos taken by parents, grabbed their bikes, put their helmets on and were off, with Spring Lake Heights police officers leading the way.

Once the students arrived at school on Monday, they walked the halls one last time in a ceremony called the “clap out.” During the event, teachers, staff, administration, parents and fellow students filled the hallways as the students made their way through the school and out the doors.

It was an emotional exit, with some participants shedding tears, Ms. Liberti said. Not all the students will be attending the same high schools next year, she explained.


“They are a great group of kids, have been together for a long time,” Ms. Liberti said. “We wanted to think of a way they could all get together for one final time.”

One of the class moms, Dia McWalters attended the breakfast for her son Sean. Very happy with the event, McWalter hopes the school decides to make this an annual event.

“We wanted to make the most of it,” Ms. Liberti said. “It turned out to be great for the whole community.”


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Connor Northrup is a Reporter at The Coast Star. He can be reached at cnorthrup@thecoaststar.com or at 732-223-0076, ext 23.