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8th Grade Gift Program

The 8th Grade Gift is a USM tradition, now in its fourth year, in which the families of 8th-grade students come together to sponsor a project that enhances the Middle School in honor of the class's graduation. 

Thanks to the generosity of the parents of the Class of 2021, the 8th Grade Staircase in the Middle School Lobby received repairs and upgrades. The 8th-grade staircase is reserved for the exclusive use of 8th graders, which is a long-standing and cherished USM tradition that dates back to the 1960's, when the staircase was only for Downer Seminary Senior students. The floor in the Middle School lobby, which is also original to the building, will be re-finished as well.


List of 7 frequently asked questions.

  • What is the 8th Grade Gift?

    A. The 8th Grade Gift is a USM tradition in which families of 8th-grade students come together to sponsor a project that enhances the Middle School in honor of the class's graduation. In 2016-17, the project involved restoring the original staircase and floor in the Middle School lobby. The project builds on last year's 8th-grade class gift - updates to the furniture, lighting, and paint in the space. 
  • What are some examples of previous projects?

    A. In 2014, the families of the Class of 2019 provided new furniture for the Middle School library. The previous year, the 8th Grade Gift involved re-purposing a computer lab in the Middle School into an innovative maker space, now known as Nerdvana. 
  • What does the project cost?

    A. Our goal is to raise at least $15,000 to complete the restoration of the staircase, refinish the floor, and other aspects of the project to be determined by the students. 
  • Who contributes to the fundraising goal?

    A. We ask the families of our 8th Grade students to make a special gift to the USM Fund to support the 8th grade class gift. Our goal is that each family with an 8th grade student participates. 
  • How do I make my/our gift?

    A. To make your contribution to the 8th Grade Gift, you may call Meghan Vosberg in the Advancement Office at 414.540.3337 or click here to make your gift online.
  • Is my/our contribution to the project separate from my/our annual gift to the USM Fund?

    A. No. The 8th Grade Class Gift is a special fundraising initiative facilitated through the USM Fund, so as an 8th grade family, your gift to the USM Fund this year is designated to support this special project. 
  • What is the timeline for the project?

    A. The restoration, refinishing, and other updates will be completed over Winter Break, so our 8th grade students have ample time to enjoy their class gift before departing for the Upper School.
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