The end of the 2020 school year was less than ideal; between homeschooling and cancellations, it’s been tough for students, teachers, and parents. To bring a little happiness, our after-school instructors wanted to let their graduating fifth graders know how proud they are of them.
Vickie Briggs, Play Roanoke’s Youth Development Program Supervisor, said, “Everyone felt a sense of sadness when they found out that March 13 was going to be the last day for school and the after-school program. I felt we could not let the virus overcome our students and staff who worked so hard to get to finish the 5th grade.” Briggs worked with the staff to bring a graduation celebration to these kids.
On May 30 and 31, masked staff gathered to celebrate the 15 rising sixth graders who were in the PLAY Roanoke After-School Program. On Saturday, staff met at Eureka Recreation Center for a socially distant graduation ceremony for eight kids. They spaced out tables in the parking lot for each graduate, and the graduate got out of the car to claim a variety of goodies, balloons, and a graduation certificate. The children beamed as staff yelled, “I’m so proud of you!” while shaking noisemakers and pressing blow horns.
On Sunday, May 31, staff drove to the remaining graduates’ homes to surprise them with a graduation parade. Like the day before, staff placed graduation gifts and their certificates on the porch while honking horns, holding signs, and cheering for the student. The kids were surprised and thrilled by the gesture.
We are proud of these kids for working so hard to overcome the roadblocks and the disappointment they’ve encountered. They’ve handled it with grace, and we know they’re going to go on to do great things! And to our staff—we’re so lucky to have you. Thank you for loving these kids and shaping strong, smart, responsible citizens.