In a ceremony last Friday afternoon, filled with much pomp and circumstance, Guyanese-born mother and daughter daycare providers, Paulette Hyman and Shaundell Agrippa, collaborated in organizing the graduation of seven children from Pre-K at their daycare centers in Laurelton, Queens.
The seven graduating students from Nicky’s Little Sprouts D.C., Inc. and Jeremy’s Place Daycare — one was four years old and the others were five — will now go on to kindergarten in area public schools.
The graduates of Haitian, Guyanese, Jamaican, Grenadian and American parentage were: Girls Kourtney Bashford, Meila Pretto and Makayla Fluker; and boys Neithan Bashford, Hanif Mohammed, Marley Taylor and Jelani Ewart.
“Today is, indeed, a wonderful day,” said Ms. Agrippa, the daughter-owner of the five-year-old Nicky’s Little Sprouts, D.C., Inc., where the ceremony was held in addressing the Class of 2016. “Today is about the children. Their hard work and dedication have paid off, and we are celebrating with you all.
“Sometimes, we are concerned about what a child will become tomorrow; yet, we forget that he is someone today,” she added at the ceremony that comprised teachers, parents, grandparents, friends, supporters and guests. “As parents and teachers, we do put a lot of time and energy into preparing our children for their futures. It is our collective responsibility to mold the leaders of tomorrow for it is on them that the future will have to depend.”
Agrippa, who holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), said the graduating students “have grown and developed remarkably,” stating that “they have learned so much. They have remained eager and enthusiastic in so many ways.”
She congratulated the teachers and parents for their “exceptional roles” in facilitating the graduating process.
“Now, girls and boys, we need to tell you how very proud we are of you today,” said Agrippa, a member of Golden Key National Honor Society and the National Association of University Women, Long Is. Branch. “You are special. You have all worked hard.”
She urged parents and guests to view the bulletin boards, posted along the fence, to “see some of the work our children have done.
“Well done and congratulations to each and every one of you,” said Agrippa, who migrated from Guyana to New York when she was 14 years old, turning to the graduates and their parents. “You can feel very proud of all you have accomplished.
“It has been an honor and a privilege being a part of their journey and one [journey], which has been imbued with wonderful memories,” she added. “While some things will change, and rightly so, the core fundamentals in their [students’] lives will remain the same. Remember, that we will always be interested in your child and their destiny wherever they go, whatever they do, whoever they become.”
Agrippa’s mother, Ms. Hyman, owner of Jeremy’s Place Day Care, Inc., which she founded 11 years ago, said the students “learned to love Reading, Math, doing Science experiments and other fine motor skill activities, which will help them so much as they progress with their education.
“I am proud of the way the children love coming to school every day, as they learn eagerly,” said Hyman, who was under the weather, in her address read by teacher/cousin Jacqueline Lett. “Seeing the big smiles on their faces in the morning is so rewarding.”
She said her school places great emphasis on being a part of the community by “providing exceptional childcare for families seeking a safe place for their children,” adding that “a sense of community is also important to the future of our nation and our children.
“As the African proverb says, ‘it takes a village to raise a child,’” Hyman said.
Hyman’s grandson, Jeremiah Agrippa, 11, after whom Jeremy’s Place Day Care, Inc. was named, told the parents that it was “a great honor” to give back to their children whom the parents “confidently entrusted to our care for the last four years.
“We give them back pounds heavier, inches taller, mouths wiser – more responsible and mature than they were then,” said Ms. Agrippa’s second son in his terse address, read by teacher Alicia Alexander, a recent graduate of Medgar Evers College, CUNY. Jeremiah was absent because he was attending his school’s prom. He graduates from 5th Grade, at P.S. 38 in Rosedale, Queens, on Friday.
“Although, they would have attained their growth in spite of us, it has been our pleasure and privilege to watch their personality unfold day to day and marvel at their development,” said Jeremiah about the students.
Guest speaker, Guyanese educator, Dionne Nedderman, urged parents to support the dreams of their children “by providing the necessary resources to enable them to be successful.
“As an educator, the job has its benefits, such as a decent salary, summer vacations, but nothing means more than a parent telling you ‘thank you’ for all that you have done for their child,” said Nedderman, who has been an educator for 17 years. “In sum, we should thank Ms. Hyman, Ms. Nikki [Shaundell Agrippa] and their staff for all that they have done.”