2016 Kidz World graduates

BY RAVEN JOY SHONEL, Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG – Parents, extended family and friends all gathered Sat., May 21 at Bethel Community Baptist Church to celebrate a milestone in their children’s lives—preschool graduation.

On hand to give the welcome was Marquis Lambert, a 10th grader at Admiral Farragut Academy and Kidz World alum.

“In May 2004, I was sitting in my blue cap and gown waiting to get my first diploma. I looked like some of you—nervous and excited,” said Lambert, who is the first of three brothers to graduate from Kidz World.

Parents, family members, friends and guests were invited to sit back and enjoy the program, which consisted of music, awards and performances by the graduates. In fact, the afternoon was a showcase of academic talent as members of the 2015-16 graduating class expertly showed off what early learning has given them.

Kidz World founder Arthurene Williams introduced all the teachers that in one way or another had a hand in each and every one of the 28 graduates earning their VPK diplomas.

“Our teachers work so hard to not just prepare them for kindergarten, but to overly prepare them for kindergarten. So parents, it is definitely your charge to make sure when they get to kindergarten that you stay on top of your child’s education,” said Williams.

Founded by Williams and her late husband, Pinellas County School Board member Lew Williams, Kidz World, located at 50-50th St. S, has become one of the premier preschools for early learning.

“Please parents, when they leave us we have truly laid the foundation for them, the rest is up to you. And if you continue what we have started, there should be no issues with them doing well when they get to kindergarten and beyond,” she said.

Williams, a retired educator and behavior specialist, along with her staff teaches the fundamentals of academics to children as young as one.

Students at Kidz World are immersed in learning throughout the day, mastering vocabulary to include prefixes and compound words, how to form sentences to make them better readers, math problems and even attend Spanish class three days a week.

Graduates proved their knowledge by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in both English and Spanish, as well as identifying and verbalizing in Spanish various objects and numbers. The display of knowledge continued with students listing all the states along with their capitals and directions on a map.

But perhaps most impressive of all was the reading of the books. Each graduate had their moment in the spotlight, and they did not disappoint.

“This was not something that was just prepared for today; this is an everyday routine that goes on in each one of the VPK classes,” said Williams.

Graduating students received the red carpet treatment, along with a picture plaque and a goody bag filled with pencils, crayons, coloring books and reading books, all in an effort to promote reading at home. Students who completed reading calendars all year earned free books, a certificate and a McDonald’s gift card worth $5.

School Board member Renee Flowers, Victoria Cribb, Childcare Apprenticeship Coordinator at Pinellas Technical College, Williams’ son Brandon and VPK teachers Vicky Portell and Wendy Preudhomme all helped to hand out diplomas. And for those children who started at Kidz World as one year olds, a bobble head with their name on it was reserved for them.

For more information on how you can sign your child up, check out their Facebook page or give them a call at (727) 322-6316.

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