Their time in the classroom may have been cut short but the 15 graduates of Child Crisis Arizona’s preschool program still enjoyed a memorable graduation.

Over three days the graduates were invited to drive through, accept their diploma and stop for a photo opp. The children dressed up in their best and arrived in cars decorated to celebrate the occasion.

In addition to their diploma, each graduate took home a backpack full of school supplies, a new school uniform and a new pair of shoes to help ensure success in their next year of school.

Each year Child Crisis Arizona honors the students moving on from the Early Education Program to kindergarten in the fall. This year the school year was cut short when the pandemic forced the closure of the early education campus. The teachers and staff were eager to throw this graduation to praise the accomplishments of and say goodbye to the children.

“We love these kids,” said Kristin Andrew, Director of Early Education Services. “Just because we haven’t been in the classroom with them doesn’t mean we’ve stopped thinking about them. They’ve all made such great progress and we know they are going to do great things in the future!”

Child Crisis Arizona’s Early Education Program serves families in Mesa and Phoenix living below the federal poverty level. The five-star-rated program focuses on strengthening families and communities. Parents agree to take an active role in their child’s education and are also encouraged to get to know other parents and families in the program. A Family Support Specialist works with the family one-on-one to provide resources and support.

During the pandemic, Family Support Specialists and teachers have remained a resource for the children’s families. They’ve reached out with weekly phone calls and have delivered meals, board games, books, crafts and other activities to keep kids active and learning.