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Kids Academy Learning Center Celebrates 4th Annual VPK Graduation

Kids Academy Learning Center Celebrates 4th Annual VPK Graduation

by James Coulter

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Their high school graduation may be more than 12 years away, but for 35 children living within the Haines City area, they and their families still had reason to celebrate at their graduation ceremony for Kids Academy Learning Center USA on Wednesday evening.

More than three dozen children ranging from ages four to five gathered with their families at the Stefanni Events Banquet Hall, located right across the street from their school, to commemorate their graduation from the voluntary prekindergarten (VPK) program.

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This was the fourth annual graduation ceremony to be hosted by Kids Academy Learning Center USA, a local education center that provides daycare and pre-K educational services.

One such service is their VPK program offered through the Florida Early Learning Coalition (ELC), which, according to their website, is “a free educational program that prepares 4-year-olds for kindergarten and beyond.”

Iris Padilla, the owner and director of the school, appreciates how the program allows pre-kindergarten age students to obtain the learning skills necessary to prepare them for their elementary school career and beyond.

 “Early childhood education is very important because it molds a child to use all of their brain and ask all of the questions and continue to use their imagination and learn through play,” she said. “Seeing the world through a child’s eyes is something so rewarding and eye opening that is always amazes me with all the success they have by the innocence and excitement in their young minds and hearts.”

 Dr. Marc Hutec, ELC Polk County CEO, has been in education for the past 30 years. During that time, he has seen how their program has allowed children such as those graduating to receive the framework necessary to begin and succeed in kindergarten.

“I could not be more proud of them,” he said. “Your children are in great hands, they are well-prepared, and I am very proud of them, and I am very proud of you as well.”

 Dr. Charles Anderson, ELC Founder & CEO, likewise participated in the graduation ceremony that evening. In attendance as well were several city officials, including Haines City Mayor, Morris West; Vice Mayor, Anne Huffman; and City Commissioner Jamie Hall.

“Thank you for letting us run our business in this city of heart,” Padilla said. “We really are so fortunate to have the support and guidance of letting our three academies shape the city.”

Mayor West commemorated the school staff for preparing the children for their education, and also thanked the parents for encouraging their children to take an early interest in their education.

“Those kids, believe it or not, that is our next generation,” he said. “They are going into kindergarten…this fall. The next thing you will know, they will be in twelfth grade. That is their future. Those are our future lawyers, doctors, nurses, and politicans. So I am so proud to be here today to witness this graduation on behalf of the City of Haines City.”

Many of the children graduating that evening helped participate within the program. The welcome was provided by Sebastian Betancourt and Aubrey Sparks. The prayer was provided by Noah Panelli, and the Pledge of Allegiance was provided by Gianna Martinez. The children also offered several performances through song and hand motions, including “Chika Boom”, “Sign Language Alphabet”, and “No Me Voy.”

The 2019 graduating class were as follows: Skylar Jones, Yandiel Rodriguez, Allision Segura, Jovani Torres, Jaqueline Garcia, Sebastian Betancourt, Maylen Morales, Edriel Otero, Alejandro Gutierrez, Xavier Santana, Adaya Maldonado, Aubrey Sparks, David Sanchez, Kara Stofflus, Alika Allen, Mia Cortez, Trigger Torres, Alysha Rosario, Noah Panelli, Randielys Rivera, Anthony Gallego, Zoelys Colon, Johan Lopez, Gianna Martinez, Juan Herrera, Jaxieliz Charneco, Angel Rodriguez, Gernorrya Wilson, Bennet Repley, Jayden Martinez, Sofia Nunez, Esteban Plaza, Ramon  Diaz, Mylanii Martinez, Fernaly Nazaire.

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