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St. John’s will host a drive-thru version of kindergarten graduation

By Carl Blankenship

SALISBURY – Students in kindergarten and pre-K at St. John’s Lutheran Church will be celebrating their end-of-year milestones with something a bit different this year.

While not all preschools and kindergartens do the same, students at St. John’s Lutheran Church pre-K and kindergarten graduate. Pre-K teacher Teresa Stoner said the students move on to a mix of public, private, charter schools and some will be home schooled.

This year, the graduation will take place on the originally planned day, May 15, but via drive-thru instead of an in-person gathering. Students will get a gift, their diploma and a photo taken with their families from outside their vehicles.

The ceremony happens every year, and kindergarten students even get cap and gowns, which the church has already ordered.

“We wanted a way to implement this because the children look forward to it,” Stoner said.

Families have been coming by to pick up packets of material and students have continued to make crafts at home. The teachers also began using the app Seesaw to stay in touch with kids while they are at home and see the work they are doing.

Pre-K and kindergarten will have separate graduation ceremonies in the evening, and the church has tried to plan them so they will not back up traffic downtown.

“I think it has gone very smooth,” Stoner said. “The parents have been very supportive, very kind,” adding it is difficult and the teachers miss the students.

Parent Cybil Jones has five kids, three of who have attended the program and a fourth who is finishing this year. She said the program has been “fantastic” during the shutdown.

“I’m having to read lesson plans they sent, but my son Judah knows the routine,” Johnson said. “Because they have done so well at establishing routines and maintaining consistency, even through this quarantine.”

Johnson said they are most disappointed at missing out on the last nine weeks in the program, the field trips and the spring picnics that go along with it, but she thinks the graduation will give some closure.



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