At one elementary school in West Seattle, dozens of students have been attending six days a week for the past three months – to get an extra educational boost. It’s the Roxhill Elementary Saturday Academy, and principal Carmela Dellino shares photos and a report on this weekend’s “graduation” ceremony:
More than 150 students, teachers, family members and volunteers packed the Roxhill Elementary School cafeteria Saturday for a celebration of knowledge and community. The 12-week program concluded with 44 students from grades 3-5 graduating and receiving a diploma.
Saturday Academy is a program introduced by third-year Principal Carmela Dellino in an effort to offer extended learning time in mathematics and reading for students grades 3 – 5. The Academy started last year, but grew even bigger thanks to a $20,000 infusion of cash from the school’s fundraising auction last May and from a grant from the Symetra Foundation.
The day started off like every other Saturday Academy with a breakfast snack at 9:00 am for all participants. All students then attended 2 separate sessions reviewing what they had learned, giving each other positive compliments and preparing their mini-speech for the graduation ceremony. Each student prepared a binder of their work over the 12-week course.
At 10:30, family and friends joined the scholars for brunch of eggs, pancakes, waffles, and bacon.
After the brunch Principal Dellino gathered everyone to attention and started the graduation proceedings.
Ms. Dellino started out by thanking the scholars, the “Stars” of the day, and led them on the 3 Saturday School chants. She then thanked the essential Saturday Academy teachers, City Year volunteers, and family members for their commitment to their children. Four young people were singled out for their tireless volunteer work, sometimes arriving at 7:30 am to help set up.
Each student was called up individually and one of the eight teachers read a statement about the work and improvement that specific student had demonstrated. The intelligence, dedication and enthusiasm to be life-long learners were reflected in the mini-speeches. Then the scholar said a few comments about what they had learned and improved on over the 12 week period.
After the scholars presented their comments, they shook hands with the principal and received their graduation certificate while ‘pomp and circumstance’ played over the speakers in the cafeteria.
It was a great day of celebration for the scholars and their families.
You can help make Saturday Academy a reality for the 2012-2013 school year by either donating to or attending the annual ‘Night for the Stars’ fundraising auction, 6:30 pm May 4th, at 415 Westlake in the South Lake Union neighborhood of Seattle. Please see the link on the school’s website for further information.