May 7, 2020
By: Dwayne Page
It’s not the way they wanted to say goodbye, but the staff at the LBJ& C Smithville Head Start Center got a chance to give the Class of 2020 a big send off for the summer with a drive through graduation Wednesday morning.
Although a light rain fell at the start of the observance, the weather didn’t dampen spirits as smiling faces greeted the children as they arrived to receive their rewards.
In prior years all head start classes, consisting of about 74 students, gathered with their teachers, families, and friends at the county complex for a formal graduation program in May at the end of the school year but there had to be a change in plans this year due to COVID-19. For head start children, just like students in the DeKalb County School System, there have been no on site classes for several weeks.
During Wednesday’s observance, staff members were positioned six feet apart for social distancing as the parents drove through with their children. Students were handed completion ribbons, diplomas, and graduation hats went to those moving on to kindergarten. The children were also given art supplies, homework packets, and personal belongings they may have left at the center.
Head Start graduate Bucksley Haney received a perfect attendance certificate while parents Megan Linder and Silvia Ortiz were honored with the “Top Volunteer” Award.
While the younger children are expected to return for another year of head start this fall, the older ones will be moving on to kindergarten in the DeKalb County School System.
“It was an emotional time for us but it gave us an opportunity to do a welfare check on the children, ask how they were doing, and get to see their whole families again. We love all our students and their families,” said Cathy Shehane, Director of the Smithville LBJ & C Head Start Center.