A Brooklyn early childhood center recently celebrated its seventh Pre-Kindergarten Graduation Exercise, adopting President Barack Obama’s challenge to the nation about the importance of early childhood education.
With a brightly-colored banner behind the audience reading “Pre-School for All,” the APC (Action, Performance, Commitment)-Carol Kingston Early Childhood Center in East Flatbush conducted the outdoor event under the theme, “Keep on Course.”
Dressed in their full academic regalia of blue cap and gown, graduates Saniaya Hill, 5, Waleed Haroun, 4, and Julez Mercer, 4, marched elegantly down the side walk to the familiar sound of “Pomp and Circumstance.”
They were accompanied by the junior class and summer session students.
Guyanese-born Director, Dr. Janice Emanuel Bunn, who is also a professor with the University of Phoenix, welcomed parents and guests, and joined class valedictorian Hill with a wonderful rendition of “We Are One World.”
This set the stage for the Commencement Address by Errol English, a Guyanese-born veteran educator and senior investigator with New Jersey’s Department of Banking and Insurance.
English urged the graduates to uphold key values, such as respect, kindness, obedience and love.
“If you learn how to respect, to be kind, to be obedient and to love, you are going to be successful,” he said. “Some of you are going to be doctors, some of you are going to be nurses, teachers, accountants.
“We’re expecting great things from our children,” he added, turning to the parents and supporters. “You have to think big. You can be anything you want to be. But the key is that you want to be something.
“You want to learn because you want to stay on course for your destiny,” English continued. “Children are God’s special people. So, we’re happy, very happy to be part of your experience today.”
The graduates, who were presented by Dr. Emanuel Bunn, sang to the theme song, “I believe I can Fly”.
This was followed by the awarding of their diploma and words of congratulations by parents and guardians.
In her valedictory speech, Hill said she was ready for first grade “because I know my alphabet, I can count, I know my colors and shapes, and I can even speak French.”
Then she said in French to applause: “Comment ça va? (How are you?) Ça va bien, merci (I am fine, thank you).
Dr. Emanuel Bunn said the commencement exercise was “a celebration of success for the excellent work completed by the graduates.
“We thank the parents for their commitment and total involvement in the educational endeavors of their children,” she said.
“We are confident that these boys and girl are fully prepared to enter Kindergarten,” she added.
“Let’s make it a national priority to give every child access to a high-quality early education,” Dr. Emanuel Bunn quoted President Obama as saying. “Let’s give our kids that chance.”