St. John Head Start turns 50
Published 12:10 am Wednesday, October 21, 2015
The St. John Child Development Center celebrated 50 years of Head Start.
The festivities kicked off Oct. 14 with a second-line by Head Start students into the ceremony accompanied by the East St. John High School drum line. Once inside, students heard from former Head Start and pre-kindergarten students who are now high school students or graduates about how the programs gave them a start on their paths to success.
Guest speakers addressed topics such as “Believe in Yourself” and “You are the Hope for our Future.”
Jhontre Green, an East St. John High School senior who plans to attend Howard University, told the Head Start students he started out just where they are.
“I’m glad I started from here, because it gave me the foundation I needed to be successful in upper grades,” he said.
Kahree Wahid, director of the Head Start Collaboration Office in Baton Rouge, explained the most important time in a child’s life is between ages 0 to 8.
“Zero to 8 is the time we influence a child. It’s a great time for children and a great time for child development,” he said. “What you see as play is the way they learn at that age. So when you see that, understand curriculum is taking place.”
Wahid also recognized Child Development Center employees with 25 years or more of service. Those employees are Nedra Harper with 31 years of service, Darolyn Lumar with 31 years of service, Joyce Zeno with 26 years of service, Cheryl Clark with 26 years of service and Sheila Baloney with 26 years of service.
Students and staff members recited the school motto before heading out to the flag pole for a balloon release. Students enjoyed a picnic lunch after the celebration.
Head Start began in the summer of 1965 as a program designed to provide early childhood education services to low-income children before they entered school, with the goal of giving them the same opportunities as more affluent children. Since then, Head Start has served more than 32 million children across the United States.