In pairs, eighth grade Staten Island students walked down the aisle of Our Lady Star of the Sea Church and placed a flower in a vase at the base of the altar — each symbolizing a Staten Island Catholic school.

The procession kicked off an annual mass for graduating eighth-graders among all 14 of Staten Island’s Catholic elementary schools on Wednesday morning. More than 500 students, faculty, principals and other school leaders filled the Huguenot church to receive blessings and pray for the future of students as they prepare to go to high school in the fall.

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(Staten Island Advance/Annalise Knudson) (Photo: Staten Island Advance/SI Live)