Martha’s Vineyard eighth-grade mixer unites future class of 2016

After all these years, the limbo still has legs. Nils Aldeborgh shows how it's done, with assistance from pole-holders Jack Reagan, left, and Austin Chandler.— Photo courtesy of Darren Belisle

The second annual All-Island Eighth-Grade Mixer rocked the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury from 6 to 10 pm on Friday night. The event brought together about 200 students and parents from Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools (MVPS), the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, and Falmouth Academy.

The students fueled up with pizza, salad, and punch, and danced off some calories to tunes played by deejay Darren Belisle, computer network administrator at the Edgartown School. They also enjoyed a visit from the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) Minnesingers, who stopped by to give a short performance.

“It was nice to see the eighth-graders from different schools all mingling together, since many of them will be in the same class at the high school,” Rebecca Hegarty, the mixer’s parent organizer, said.

The Dukes County Sheriff’s Department generously funded the cost of the entire event, about $1,500, on the recommendation of Captain Robert Ogden, who works with students through the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, according to Ms. Hegarty.

“He saw it in the beginning stages last year, and took it to the association and said, ‘This is something the community needs and that we want to be a part of,'” Ms. Hegarty said.

She noted that several school administrators attended the event to show their support, including MVPS elementary school principals and superintendent James Weiss. MVRHS Principal Stephen Nixon also was on hand to give a preliminary welcome to the eighth-graders who will soon attend his school as members of the class of 2016.

Ms. Hegarty said she organized the first mixer, held last year, when her daughter Erin was an eighth-grader at Edgartown School. “The seventh-graders heard all about it, so this year, as eighth-graders, they kept asking me when we would do it again,” she said.

Since her daughter Jacquelyn is an eighth-grader this year, Ms. Hegarty took the reins again. She said she worked with a wonderful committee of parents from each of the Island public schools, who volunteered to split up the mixer’s many tasks. Ms. Hegarty said she has already handed the baton for next year’s mixer over to a parent at Oak Bluffs School, to help ensure it continues to be an annual event.