On Friday, May, 12th the Amphitheater hosted a candy land-themed graduation for the preschool students in the Child Development program. Not only was this the last day for the preschoolers, but also for seniors in the program and the beloved teacher, Mrs. Rachel Miller who will be leaving Blake high school in the fall.
The graduation kicked off at 10 am when some of the student teachers escorted the children in their tiny graduate robes and sparkly caps underneath the candy balloon arch into the amphitheater. Ms. Miller and a few of the other student teachers spoke and handed out awards to the students. As the graduation went along, we were treated to some performances by the kids with mixed success. As with all kids, no matter how much you might try to perfect something like a song or dance, you never quite know how well they are going to perform. However, it was fun to see all of their student teachers try to keep their wandering eyes on task.
One of the best parts of the experience from an outsider’s perspective was seeing how Blake’s students interacted with the young kids. Often we forget that we only ever see each other interacting with other peers our age or even teachers, so it was fun seeing a different side to so many of our familiar peers.
Of course, the biggest thing I took away from the experience was the emotion coursing through the room. From the parents seeing their kids ready to move on to kindergarten to the student teachers watching their class graduate and Ms. Miller saying goodbye to the child development program.
Some of the student teachers also gave passionate speeches for Mrs. Miller, who will be moving to Farquar’s special education program. Mrs. Miller has been at Blake for 10 years and made an impact on so many students, who are very sad to see her go.
“She’s been an amazing teacher, she’s kind to everybody, and I’m super sad to see her go.” Says senior Patrick Mchale who has been in the child development program since his junior year. “At least we’re going with her” he adds, drawing the connection between both the senior class and Mrs.Miller moving onto the next chapter of their lives.
Senior Makayla Mimms has been in the Child Development program since her freshman year and says it’s “really Heartbreaking to see it (the program) go, and see them (the children) go.“
Mchale agrees saying that “saying goodbye to the child development program is probably harder than saying goodbye to the kids. It teaches us how to be teachers and our students how to be students…Teaching is hard, and teachers deserve a lot more.” Mchale adds, describing how the child development program has allowed him to empathize with his own high school teachers and understand their struggles in the classroom.
However, Mrs.Miller leaving the program might just be the saddest part of all. “I’m very sad that she’s leaving, I would have loved to see her teach next year, all the parents love her, all the students love her, and I would have wanted her legacy to live on at Blake High School,” Mchale says.
To that, we can say that Mrs.Miller’s legacy will live on, in the hearts and memories of her students, both preschoolers and high schoolers that love her. The child development program, with an uncertain future, will continue its legacy with a generation of students who learned responsibility and sharing, and a generation of high schoolers who learned even more about themselves.
Graduation is a celebration of moving on to bigger and better things, whether you are 5 years old going into kindergarten or a high school senior moving on to college. Education is one of the most important parts of our journey to becoming the complete people we were always meant to be.