Hart-Ransom kindergartners take small step toward saving the world

06/03/2014 6:23 PM

06/03/2014 7:06 PM

Hart-Ransom School waved goodbye to about 100 kindergartners in a cute-as-a-button ceremony that included career plans and a custom song. A more serious ceremony came later, cheering on the district’s first graduating seniors, the three-person Class of 2014 from Hart-Ransom Charter School.

Nestled between almond orchards northwest of Modesto, the school’s Tuesday morning celebration concluded with a lyrical tribute to Wood Colony by kindergarten teacher Leslie Laffin.

“I go to school at Hart-Ransom Elementary, where it’s nice and fun and my friends are really cool. Out in Wood Colony, it’s happy and beautiful. A place to learn and grow. What an awesome little school!” young voices trilled.

Parents, grandparents and others started gathering hours early for the event, setting out lawn chairs arm-to-arm across the kindergarten yard. Cynthia Guerrero said she arrived at 7:45 a.m. for her nephew’s 9:30 ceremony. “There were already quite a few people there,” she said.

After the singing, each of the honorees walked through an arch bedecked with balloons and ribbon, then marched up two steps to a platform to shake Principal Jerrianna Boer’s hand. As the kids took their solo ceremonial walks, teachers said their names and career goals.

One wanted to be a nurse for dogs. Several plan to become pro football players, police officers and firefighters. A future Marine, “so he can practice soldier things,” got applause, and the next Captain America, who “will save the people of the world,” brought warm chuckles. At least a dozen plan to return one day as teachers.

But there is plenty of time for minds to change, as a glance at classes waiting to walk made clear. Several girls fiddled with their hair, tried to master the finger snap and compared brightly colored dresses. Squirmy boys in freshly pressed shorts and shirts chattered until being expertly shushed.

“They’re just so cute, with their little personalities,” said grandmother Rita Guerrero.

“I got a little teared up. My daughter just left for Marine Corps boot camp,” said aunt Katherine Rosa. The annual tradition brought back her own children’s little kid moments.

Kindergarten teachers gave a ceremonial salute to their students and families, as well.

“I give them back to you a few pounds heavier, a few inches taller and a few months wiser,” said teacher Sara Davison.

Planning for the day goes on year-round, said kindergarten aide Charlene Rocha. “Every year, it gets better and better,” she said.

Tuesday evening, the district’s oldest students took their ceremonial walk. The elementary district teaches about 800 children through eighth grade in its neighborhood school, and serves 250 students through high school at its adjacent charter school, said Superintendent Ream Lochry.

Three seniors graduated from Hart-Ransom Charter School, a home-based program that also offers classes in core subjects and lab sciences, Lochry said.

That ceremony started with picture taking and ended with chocolate cake for all, said charter school Principal David Cline.

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