Mini-grads to the fore: Marco Y sends its preschool students off to kindergarten in style


It was time for the island's littlest graduates to shine, and they did. They sparkled.

Dressed in black gowns and caps, 13 youngsters from the Greater Marco Family YMCA's preschool delighted their parents with monologues and songs before receiving their certificates from pre-K teacher and Director Kelly O'Connor.

Madison Cook is a study in concentration before the start of the ceremony.

One of their performances was aptly titled “Kindergarten Here We Come,” a rather poignant acknowledgement that the next chapter in their young lives is imminent.

They also performed the “Thank You Song,” generating smiles along with tears from the parents, who en masse created cellphone videos and photos for posterity.

The grads were Alican Ustun, Cheyanne Smith, Courtney Garwood, Jonathan Rivera, Kim Tran, Leiah Strickland, Liliana Anderson Rivera, Luka Cabrera Andrade, Madison Cook, Nicole Saad, Ryan Rivas, Sabrina Pascu and Sophie Batlle.

The Y's long-running preschool program aims to help children grow in spirit, mind and body in a safe environment, as well as prepare them for success "with common core state standards through a rich collection of resources that help teachers guide all children to be as successful as possible when they enter kindergarten," according to the Y manifesto.

Program components include dramatic play, art, discovery, library, music, computers, and outdoor activities in YMCA pools and gyms.

Academically, it focuses on literacy, math, science and technology. Also accentuated are healthy habits as well as social, moral and spiritual development.

For more on the program, as well as the Y's wide variety of programs for youth and adults, visit (an app is available) or call 394-3144.