Preschoolers March in Pint-Sized Graduation at Averett

Posted on May 19th, 2017 by Travis Dix

In a packed Pritchett Auditorium, almost 100 preschoolers graduated from the local Head Start Child Development program.

The Violet T. Frith Fine Arts Center at Averett University was filled on Thursday, May 18, with proud parents, family members and loved ones of 98 adorable graduates in their tiny red, white and blue caps and gowns. In a program full of fun, and even a chance for the little grads to dance to energetic music and “get their wiggles out,” each child was recognized individually with his or her class and teachers.

“You just watched the future walk across this stage,” said Tara Morgan, executive director of Head Start Child Development of Danville.

After congratulating the children, their parents and the teachers on this special milestone, Averett President Dr. Tiffany M. Franks challenged the preschoolers to keep climbing in school, all the way to college.

“In 13 to 15 years, I want to see all of you back in this auditorium as Averett University students!”

Averett and Head Start have been working together since early 2016, when Averett announced a new music initiative in early childhood education – Growing up Musically (GUM). Generously funded by benefactors and former Averett campaign co-chairs, Ben and Betty Davenport, the program brought Dr. Janet Phillips, Averett’s assistant professor of music, into the Head Start classrooms to deliver a series of music programs for our area’s youngest students.

“This Growing Up Musically program would not have been possible without Mr. and Mrs. Ben and Betty Davenport,” said Franks. “It is the dream and the vision of these two people, whose lifelong passion is to help the children throughout our region during their earliest year, to bring music into their lives and to realize all the marvelous benefits music brings to learning.”

One class of graduating children performed a song before presenting Betty Davenport with a thank you plaque, with pictures of students learning in the GUM program, along with many of their painted handprints.