“To me, the children are just everything that is right in the world,” Seaford Community Preschool Director Siri Willis said, at the school’s 50th Moving Up to Kindergarten ceremony on June 12. “They just are.”
The preschool is a ministry of Seaford United Methodist Church, started by congregation member Howard Ross 50 years ago, according to Church and Preschool Program Coordinator Christine Kollar.
The church’s sanctuary was filled with smiling parents and 43 giggling four- and five-year-olds during the ceremony, as the students walked down the aisle, to the educational song, “Walking to the ABCs,” after receiving their diplomas.
Willis said every annual graduation is special at the preschool, but reaching a milestone, like the 50th, made the celebration extra special. “I do think that what’s even more special is looking out into the audience and [seeing] the amount of parent alumni that we have; [it] is incredible,” she added. “That makes it even more special; to have had parents who walked down the same hallways that their children now are.”
Rev. Steven Knutsen, the church pastor, said he and the preschool staff are proud of the students. “We’re grateful that the families, the moms, the dads, the guardians, that they trust us to do this, and it’s a joy,” he said. “The bottom line, two words: learning and love. The love they give us is beyond measure.”
Kollar said that throughout the school year, the students — who were divided into three classes — the blue, yellow and orange rooms — participated in a couple activities to commemorate the 50th year of the preschool’s existence. “In November, on the 50th day of school, we had a 50’s Sock-Hop,” she said. “We had a DJ, crafts and special snacks, and everybody dressed up in a 50’s theme. It was a lot of fun.”
The school also donated money to Feed The Children — a foundation seeking to end childhood hunger, according to their website. A bucket was placed in the school’s lobby for students to donate 50 cents.
Parent Pat Cattani said it was exciting to watch his daughter, five-year-old Kayla, graduate from preschool. “We’re excited to let her go up to kindergarten now,” he said. “She met a whole bunch of friends here, and, hopefully, they maintain the same friendships throughout school.”
Parent Jennifer Dennehy said her son, William, 5, is her third son to go through the preschool and that his graduation was “a little bittersweet.”
“He’s the baby, and he’s actually going to be going to kindergarten next year,” she said. “It’s a happy moment but it’s a little sad. I miss the little baby. But he’s so big and so happy.”