by Kelly Rogge
The Kansas City Kansas Community College’s Childcare Center celebrated Cinco de Mayo and graduation in one event, bringing together families, students and the KCKCC community.
The Cinco de Mayo/Pre-K Graduation was May 5 in Upper Jewell. It featured presentations from Irene Caudillo, president and chief executive officer of El Centro Inc. and Eric Martinez, program coordinator for LULAC National Educational Service Centers of Kansas City as well as a processional of the pre-kindergarten class from the childcare center.
“This is not just a fun celebration, but it also has a lot to do with cultural heritage,” said Jonathan Long, dean of student services at KCKCC. “It also is about the graduation of some very talented students.”
Before coming to El Centro, Caudillo worked for the Wyandotte Mental Health Association and the Kansas City, Mo. Health Department. She was also the executive director for Youth Opportunities Unlimited Inc., director of family strengthening for Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and was director of clinic operations for Swope Health Services. She spoke about the history of Cinco de Mayo and gave some insight into Hispanic culture.
Martinez has been with LULAC since 2012 where he helps to develop partnerships with community leaders and recruits parents for the parent liaison program. He has also worked with the Wyandotte Mental Health Center and Harvest of Hope Leadership Academy.
“The staff and I feel that the event was a success. The speakers provided culturally enriching information that was relatable to everyone in attendance, both children and adults,” said Doris Holleman, director of KCKCC’s Childcare Center. “The Pre-K Graduation Ceremony was also delightful.”
Following Caudillo’s remarks, the graduation portion of the event began with a processional to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Graduates even wore the traditional mortar board hats as they entered. Guests were also treated to a slideshow presentation of the students.
“The children’s personalities and success were acknowledged in a serious, yet fun manner. I would also like to thank all of the families for their support of both the staff and their children,” Holleman said. “Their support has been evident and well received throughout the children’s educations at the Campus Child Care Center.”
For more information on the KCKCC Childcare Center, call 913-288-7615.