It was a day of celebration for the Ocean View Care Centre as 43 Grade R pupils graduated last Friday.
The Ocean View civic centre was a hive of activity as parents, grandparents, family, and friends clapped and cheered as the children performed several songs on stage and a Nativity play.
Sitting on stage, the preschool’s founder, Johann Kikillus, presented the pupils with their graduation certificates and congratulated them.
It was a proud achievement for the pupils and teachers as the school has had its fair share of disruptions this year.
In May, the preschool’s electricity was disconnected and it had to close in June due to non-compliance with national building regulations and a fire safety by-law (“Children’s haven closes again,” Echo June 15).
But thanks to the donation of 12 fire extinguishers from a good Samaritan and some help from the City, the preschool reopened in August and teachers had to do their best to catch up with the curriculum.
Mr Kikillus thanked the teachers and all the volunteers. He said this December marked the 9th anniversary of his 5-year-old son’s death from cancer.
He had been distraught after his son’s death, he said, and had asked God what to do. As he couldn’t look after his son anymore, he decided to look after the children of others. “And this is how it all started,” he said.
Mr Kikillus told parents to look after their children as they were gifts from God.
Renee Smith, director of Children A’loud, a non-profit that provides support to the youth in Ocean View, said the organisation had stared working with the preschool. She appealed to parents to keep their children safe and occupied throughout the festive season.
Felicia Simon, the mother of 6-year-old twins Tainin and Tamia, said she was relieved that her children had graduated especially after the school had had to close earlier.
“I was so worried that they wouldn’t graduate, and I’m so grateful for someone like Johann who was pushing to have the school reopened and gave them a successful graduation,” she said.
After the graduation ceremony, the children received a meal while parents, family, and friends had home-made chicken akni.