The youngest students at Sunset Elementary School were honored Tuesday, May 21 for successfully graduating from pre-kindergarten. The 41 tiny children, wearing graduation caps with tassels and dressed in their finest, filed into the Sunset Cafeteria and took their places on the stage to the music of "Pomp and Circumstance" and "Let Them Be Little" by Billy Dean, while their excited families looked on with pride. Several children, like Ayde Garay, had several generations of family on hand. Their teachers, Shonda Nelson and Patty Rojas, were obviously moved as well. "Thank you for the privilege of teaching your kids," said Nelson before presenting diplomas to each of the children.
Sunset Elementary School has conducted a graduation ceremony for children who finish pre-kindergarten for several years. According to Nelson, "We want to celebrate the year and their achievements." Many of the children beginning pre-kindergarten at Sunset are immigrants or refugees who begin with no English language skills at all. By the end of the year, Nelson says, many are fluent in English. She says it is remarkable how much progress they are able to make over the course of the year. After graduating from pre-kindergarten, the students will be better able to keep up with their peers, when they begin regular kindergarten classes next year.
Receiving diplomas were: Zayla Aguayo, Paige Balderaz, Zachary Carter, Emily Castro, Rebecca Chacon, Zyler Coaly, Jonathan Flores, Leah Loera, Andrea Marquez, Yvette Martinez, Isaac Mendoza, Mireya Mendoza, Gerard Molina, Alex Pando, Mia Sanchez, Zoee Stiles, Jennel Tavarez, Roman Terrazas, Hector Villasenor, Hagan Winegarner, Zu Bai, Leandro Calel, Conor Dougherty, Ozain Far, Amani Fuentes, Edwin Galicia, Ayde Garay, Nyuo t Gatkoi, Adrian Gonzales, Kaylee Gonzales, Fernando Hernandez, Sapoe Lar, Darey Martinez, Danely Ontiveros, Ashley Reyna, Adiel Rodriguez, Daniel Silva, Joseph Thang, Zaide Valdez, Johnny Valdez, and Ar'Don Verge.