VALE â€” Caps were straightened, gowns were zipped up, chewing gum was spit out and everyone was asked if they had to go to the bathroom.
Twenty-three 5-year-olds received their diplomas Saturday at Maryvale Daycareâ€™s graduation ceremony.
Sister Mary Frances gives an award to Grace Chambless. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
â€œOur main goal as a daycare is not just to watch the kids, but to be a Christian organization designed to help children in their lives and let them know that if they have God in their lives they can handle anything,â€ said Sister Mary Francis, a daycare teacher.
The excited boys and girls donned the blue and white robes, made by one of the sisters at the daycare to match the sistersâ€™ clothing.
After a quick prayer, the children marched out to â€œPomp and Circumstanceâ€ and were greeted by camera-happy proud parents.
Carson Warlick leads the march of graduates as parents and family wave and take pictures. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
â€œIâ€™m first in line and I get to carry the flag,â€ said Carson Warlick, one of the graduates.
Each little graduate received a gold trophy from Sister Mary Francis, who told the audience the career she believed the children should pursue.
The staff had told the children they would be receiving awards, but not exactly what they would be getting.
â€œSister, is it something to eat?â€ asked one of the graduates.
Sister Francis had a hard time deciding the award for each child because of the enormous potential each possessed.
â€œThere is so much energy when I think about each child,â€ said Sister Francis. â€œMan, do we have a lot of talent.â€
Graduates received awards to be everything from firemen to journalists, airline pilots to creative designers.
The children then received their diplomas, many smiling and raising their diploma in the air, while others using theirs as spyglasses or microphones.
The graduates are led out of the daycare door to the graduation ceremony. Chris Dean / LTN Photo
Though polite and well- behaved during the ceremony, one little girl knew when it was time to go.
â€œSister, youâ€™re taking too long!â€ said Grace Scronce, who received a trophy to be a teacher.
After receiving their diplomas, the students treated their audience to a performance of â€œThe Battle Hymn of the Republicâ€ and marched out to meet their families.
â€œI am going to miss Quenten and Sarah and Sadie,â€ said Michael Riddle, a graduate. â€œI am going to miss everybody.â€
Parents enjoyed the ceremony and the childrenâ€™s special recognition.
â€œThe trophy was a surprise,â€ said Fe Riddle, Michaelâ€™s mother. â€œWe were not told about that.â€
Maryvale Daycare was established in 1982 with only four students.
Today the daycare boosts 103 children ages infant to 5 from many areas such as Hickory, Shelby, Newton and Lincolnton.
The daycare is staffed by 17 faculty, including three sisters.
Sister Francis attributes the growth of the facility to the quality of care each child receives.
â€œWeâ€™ve grown because of word of mouth. People have been satisfied coming here,â€ said Sister Francis. â€œWe try to give the best quality so that way we serve the parents and the children.â€
Parents seem to agree with the sister.
â€œItâ€™s wonderful. Iâ€™ve heard so many good things. I went to work and I never worry about her when sheâ€™s here,â€ said Kim Crump, mother of graduate Camaryn. â€œI wish they had a kindergarten. Iâ€™d want her to go here.â€
Plans for the daycareâ€™s 25th anniversary in 2007 are already underway.
â€œWe are trying to get committees organized now to try to get everyone together,â€ Sister Francis said.
The Maryvale Class of 2005:
by Mary Williams