Six “unique” pre-kindergarten students were showered with praises recently at an elaborate graduation ceremony for two Guyanese-owned daycare centers in Laurelton, Queens.
Jeremy’s Place Daycare, Inc. and Nicky’s Little Sprouts, D.C., Inc., owned, operated and directed by mother and daughter, Paulette Hyman and Shaundell Agrippa, respectively, collaborated, as in the past two years, in hosting the extravagant ceremony — with all pomp and circumstance – on June 23, at Nicky’s Little Sprouts, D.C., Inc.
Dylan Bailey, Joy Jackson, Janiyah Jonas and Malaysia Smith graduated from Nicky’s Little Sprouts, D.C., Inc., and Celina Nedderman and Anaya Croft graduated from Jeremy’s Place Daycare, Inc. The graduates will be going on to Kindergarten in the fall.
“The class of 2017 is a unique class,” said Ms. Agrippa in delivering the Commencement Address, attended by parents and family members, friends, distinguished guests, teachers and volunteers.
“These children started in our daycare as babies,” she added. “Look at these sprouts today; they have grown and made us proud. Do you agree? (the audience responded with a resounding ‘yes’).
“I’m delighted and proud to see all of you here,” Ms. Agrippa continued. “Today, I give God all the glory and praise for what he has done. I wanted to read excerpts from the book, ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go,’ by Dr. Seuss, but, I’m not going to do that – you’re not babies anymore (turning to the graduates). You’re sitting here today because your mountains aren’t waiting for you; you’ve already been moving them to get to this point.”
Ms. Agrippa said she saw the preschool class as being “uniquely equipped to solve the problems our world faces, because they (graduates) have had the best start on their educational journey.
“You, the graduating class, have worked hard to get here,” she said. “Just think — when you started preschool, you were picking your nose, could not tie your shoe or even write your name. But you have overcome these hurdles. Kindergarten is very different from where you are right now — no more mud castles or hangouts in the sandbox. Get ready to work hard.”
Ms. Agrippa said some of the graduates have already showed “great potential” in reading, math, science and the arts.
“Keep striving, because the future is yours,” she urged. “Show your gratitude. Many of you have been taught that gratitude is saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. If you want your parents to know how grateful you are, make them proud.”
Ms. Agrippa noted the parents’ involvement in, among other things, their children’s schoolwork, school trips, Parent-Child Reading Day and Father’s Day Art Competition.
The centers presented a number of awards and certificates to the graduating and current students, as well as to the parents, teachers and volunteers. The teachers and some parents also presented awards and bouquet of flowers to the directors.
Awards and certificates presented by the centers included: Most Improved, Attendance, Math, Science, Reading, Penmanship, Homework, Thinker, Circle Time Leader, Citizenship, Dance, Spelling Bee, Star, Parent of the Year, Outstanding Volunteer, Parent-Family, Longevity, Parent Appreciation, After School and Teachers.
Malaysia Smith received the Star Student Award; Nimal Bailey received a plaque for Parent of the Year; Mr. and Mrs. Roel Jackson were honored with the Longevity Award; parent Ayana Croft received the Outstanding Volunteer Award; and Ms. Croft’s daughter, Anaya Croft, was the recipient of the Teachers’ Award.
Melinda Cashwell-Edwards, president of the National Association of University Women (NAUW), Long Island Branch, also presented awards to the graduating students. NAUW’s Long Island Branch chaplain, Laura Spencer, did the opening prayer and Benediction.
The graduates brought tears to their parents’ eyes, when they danced and sang to Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud”, choreographed by Ms. Agrippa. They also danced to Teddyson John’s “Allez,” choreographed by teacher Kerri Edwards.
Additionally, the graduates recited “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” in English and Spanish; Dylan Baily and Malaysia Smith read “Big Bug and Little Bug;” and Quinn Smith read a poem, “A Pre-school Good-bye.”
“The love that each child receives is incomparable,” said Yolanda Smith, a parent at Nicky’s Little Sprouts, D.C., Inc., in her tribute. “Consistency is the key. Kids need love and consistency.”
Renee Francis, a former parent of Jeremy’s Place Daycare, said she had returned to the center “many times” after her daughter, Makayla Fluker, graduated, wishing the graduates “good luck.”
“I know because my daughter went through it (day care), and I loved it each day,” said Francis in her tribute.
Mrs. Hyman introduced special guest speaker, Dr. Glaphyna LaPierre, the special education liaison at P.S. 156, the Laurelton School. Parent Shawn Fortune, with a strong baritone voice, served as master of ceremonies.