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Rising to the Top

Bells Mill fourth-graders look ahead to summers of fun and their future as the leaders of their school.

Some walked, many more ran. Some cried and hugged friends — mostly girls — while others shouted for joy. The last day of school at Bells Mill Elementary brought a range of emotions.

For rising fifth-graders, much of that emotion was the excitement of anticipation.

“We’ll finally be in fifth grade,” said Rachel Thal-Larsen.

That distinction will come with perks, said Julia Miller.

“We’re going to be in charge of all the people in the school,” Julia said. “We’ll get to tell them what to do.”

Before they can ascend to the throne of elementary school, the rising fifth-graders have different plans for the summer. Julia will go on a vacation with her family to Maine, while Rachel will spend time at the Outer Banks with her family. Jacob Goldberg has a summer of day camp and family trips ahead of him, while Michael Lee will spend time in California, Katie Gouch will test the waters in Hawaii, and Kate Reese will spend a few weeks at sleep-away camp at Summit Lake in Western Maryland.

Niko Jenkins said that he is excited about being a fifth-grader, but first he has a summer of playing on travel baseball and basketball teams lined up. So, too, does Pablo Roa, though he’ll be traveling a bit further than Niko to swing for the fences.

“I’m going to Colombia , which is where I was born,” Pablo said. “I’m going to play a lot of baseball.”

After a summer in his home country, he’ll return to Bells Mill ready for the challenges — and the benefits — of his final year in elementary school.

“When you’re in fifth grade you’re basically the leader of the school,” Pablo said.