School officials open Pre-K at Kingston

Published 9:27 pm Thursday, August 1, 2019

A new location and new classrooms were just a few of the things celebrated on Thursday at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for Selma City Schools’ Strong Start Pre-K Center located at Sophia P. Kingston Elementary School.

The process of moving the Pre-K program from Byrd First Class Early Learning Center last year to Kingston was no easy task, as the Selma City School employees worked to make the change happen before the upcoming school year.

“I know this was hard,” said Selma City Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams as she addressed the crowd gathered, which included the Pre-K teachers. “You guys are miracle workers and please don’t think for a moment that I ever took it for granted how difficult this transition would have been. You guys have done an amazing job and from the bottom of my heart I thank you all.”

“Pre-K is extremely vital to the education of all of our scholars,” Williams continued. “It is a starting point. We want to be sure that everybody understands that in Team Selma that we value early learning and we know that it is a very important attribute that our scholars will ultimately have. That is why we are so excited to open our Strong Start Pre-K Center here at Sophia P. Kingston Elementary School.”

Alabama Department of Early Childhood Education (ADECE) Secretary Jeana Ross also spoke at the ribbon cutting.

“This is such a great event,” she said. “It is a great opportunity for the children of Selma. All we do at the state department is offer you resources and support. This is your program. The success depends on the teachers, and Selma City Schools. I can tell you, I’ve visited schools all over the state and the teachers here have done a magnificent job with their early learners. We are always here to support the good work that you do.”

Dr. Barbara Cooper, Director of the ADECE Office of School Readiness, also attended the ceremony.

“I was sharing with someone the other day about attending this event,” she said. “I grew up in states across the country and had always heard about the history of Selma. To be here today and part of this, this is the historic event that I want to remember. I want you to be reminded that the foundation starts here. For every $1 that we invest in Pre-K we get almost $7 back. Let’s put our money where our mouth is and help support this center. Come in and volunteer, give your funds, raise funds and make this a priority so that every child who comes through these doors will have an opportunity to realize their American dream. They are our future doctors, lawyers and teachers and we have to invest in them. You are all showing that today.”

Cheryl Randolph, who is the Pre-K Program Director for Selma City Schools, said the event was a happy moment and encouraged everyone to partnership within the program.