Pint-sized grad­u­ates re­ceive a noble ap­plause

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Scenario I -

For the last 37 years, a ded­i­cated staff at Florence Fuller Child De­vel­op­ment Cen­ters (FFCDC) in Boca Ra­ton have worked to en­sure that their grad­u­ates be­gin ele­men­tary school as so­cially ca­pa­ble and aca­dem­i­cally ready stu­dents.

To help sup­port the FFCDC pro­grams, Publix Su­per Mar­ket Char­i­ties re­cently made a do­na­tion of $8,000 to­ward an early lit­er­acy pro­gram that will help elim­i­nate the achieve­ment gap so preva­lent among chil­dren from low-in­come fam­i­lies.

At their grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony, held in the Uni­ver­sity The­ater at Florida At­lantic Uni­ver­sity, the 2008 FFCDC grad­u­ates cel­e­brated with songs, recitals and thanks for their teach­ers and par­ents. The event em­cee was Yr­vens Guer­rier, a teacher in the FFCDC Head Start pro­gram for 4-year-old stu­dents. The guests were wel­comed by chil­dren in nine dif­fer­ent lan­guages – English, Cre­ole, Span­ish, Por­tuguese, Chi­nese, Ital­ian, Ara­bic, Wollof and sign lan­guage-- but the high­light of the event was an emo­tional ren­di­tion by the chil­dren of Whit­ney Hous­ton’s Great­est Love of All.

Ear­lier in the sum­mer, many stu­dents had an op­por­tu­nity to visit their kinder­garten class­room, meet teach­ers and even ex­pe­ri­ence the school cafe­te­ria. Di­rec­tor of Ed­u­ca­tion, Deborah Sut­ton said, “Our teach­ers work hard to pre­pare stu­dents for a life­time of pos­i­tive ed­u­ca­tion. We want our chil­dren to feel comfortable in ele­men­tary school, con­fi­dent that they are ready for the chal­lenges that lie ahead.”

Some of the grad­u­ates will re­tain their links with FFCDC, re­turn­ing as par­tic­i­pants in the Florence Fuller af­ter-school pro­gram lead by Re­becca Moore, who was the 2008 Year Book hon­oree, rec­og­niz­ing 20 years of ded­i­cated ser­vice. The goal of the af­ter-school pro­gram is to de­velop char­ac­ter and per­sonal growth in a safe, su­per­vised en­vi­ron­ment, while pro­vid­ing aca­demic sup­port and en­rich­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing art, mu­sic, dance, scouting, karate, en­vi­ron­men­tal projects, crafts, trips, and cook­ing classes.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.ffcdc.org.

Emma Mitchell

Doug Pa­ton, left, and Bradley Ber­nadeau

Chauncy Saint-Vil

Jonathan Arre­dondo

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