You guys, I officially have a kindergartner! It seems like just yesterday that I was posting about Rylie's first day of VPK (heck, it seems like just yesterday that she was BORN), and now, here we are, almost another year later.
Rylie was assessed for kindergarten readiness three different times during her 9 months of VPK (Voluntary Prekindergarten), and she scored above average on all three different tests. In fact, on the second test, she only missed one question on the entire test! Not only is she ready for kindergarten academically, she is also super excited and cannot wait to go to the "big kids' school".
In celebration of the end of the 2012-2103 VPK school year, Rylie's school held a wonderful graduation ceremony. The kids all wore blue caps and gowns, they sang some songs, and they all received a diploma.
Rylie went into school a half hour before the ceremony started to get ready with her class. She has come so far since the days of her separation anxiety and not wanting to leave my side! She was all smiles as she waved goodbye to us at the door. The rest of us stood outside in the Florida heat until we were allowed to take our seats out behind the school. We were all kind of a sweaty mess by this point.
Moments later, we heard the Graduation March music, and the graduates started walking out. When we found Rylie's chair at the very end of the row, I was pretty sure that she would be leading the class out, and I felt so much pride when I saw her walk around the corner first!
The children all took their seats, and then the owner of the school said a few words. I was surprised to see her get choked up while she was talking, since she has done this for so many years now, but I'm sure she forms bonds with all of these children, and I imagine how sad she is to see them move on.
Once the introductions of the teachers and class had been made, the kids did a little performance to the song "Let Them Be Little". Now, if you don't know this song by Billy Dean, you must go search for it and listen to it now, so then you'll understand why I started bawling while the kids were performing.
The lyrics to that song are enough to make any parent shed a few tears, and then about halfway through the song, all of the kids picked up the flowers that were under their chairs and brought them out to their parents. It was so cute and so sweet, yet so sad at the same time. Our little kids won't be little for much longer.
After everyone dried their eyes, Rylie's three teachers (Ms. Marlene, Ms. Carrie and Ms. Diana) all said a few words, and then it was back to performing. The kids sang "She'll Be Comin Round the Mountain" and "Cotton Eye Joe". Rylie had been practicing her songs at home, and she was so excited to swing her pink bandanna around for Cotton Eye Joe. She was so afraid that her cap would fall off, though, that her rendition at school was way less animated than her practices at home had been.
During the ceremony, all of the kids were presented with their diploma and they were asked what they wanted to be when they grow up. Rylie had been telling me that she was going to say she wanted to be a nurse because her teachers told her that she couldn't answer with "doctor" because her friend Peyton had said the same thing. I told her that she could say whatever she wanted, and if she wants to be a doctor, that is what she should say. When it was her turn to speak into the microphone, though, she went along with her teachers and said she wanted to be a nurse. While it bugged the heck out of me, her decision shows that Rylie has respect for her teachers, and that still makes me happy. And hey, a nurse certainly isn't a bad profession to have!
After the ceremony concluded, I tried to get a family picture with the graduate, and of course, that went just like all of our other family photo attempts go. I did manage to get a cute one of Rylie and me, though.
Once we had our pictures, the kids took off their caps and gowns, and we were all invited to stay for cake. The kids gathered up all of their graduation artwork, and the owner of the school had a package for each graduate that included their diploma in a frame, a CD with all the photos they had taken in the class that year, and even a little yearbook with some pictures and information about Rylie and the signatures of all of her friends. I was so thankful to have all of that stuff!
The kids all had one last chance to play together after the ceremony, which Rylie was really happy about since that would be the very last time she would be at that school. There were six girls who had formed a tight little group I called "the Super Six", and only one of them would be going to the same elementary school as Rylie. While I know we will still see her friends, I know she will miss seeing them as often as she did last year.
I was so impressed with the graduation ceremony! It was so well planned, and we had such a great time watching the kids perform and receive their diplomas. It was a HUGE deal for the kids, and I am so grateful that Ms. Fiona went through all of the trouble she did to make it perfect for everyone.
Less than two months from now, my little girl will be going to school with the big kids! While it is bittersweet to watch your baby grow up, it is so exciting and I can't wait to see what next year has in store for Rylie!
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