First class: 22 proud preschoolers graduate from East Baltimore early learning center

They are among first children enrolled in new Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, which opened in September

Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center graduates

Image caption: Twenty-two preschool students participated in the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center's first promotion ceremony on Wednesday. The graduates will begin kindergarten later this month.

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

As more than 100 family members and friends looked on, 22 4- and 5-year-olds proudly performed their final acts as preschoolers Wednesday morning. There was singing, dancing, poetry reading, and smiles all around as the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center in East Baltimore held a promotion ceremony for its first graduating class. The students will start kindergarten later this month.

David Andrews plays guitar and sings

Image caption: David Andrews, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Education, leads the graduates in a sing-along during the graduation ceremony.

Image credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

David Andrews—dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, which operates the ECC in partnership with Morgan State University's School of Education and Urban Studies—said he had been looking forward to the day, as it would be "the most fun I would have at a graduation in my 30 years in education." He then led the students in a sing-along while playing his guitar, and he closed by encouraging them to continue to work hard as they progress in their school careers.

Each of the students was presented with a completion certificate. David Mialis, a parent volunteer, received an award from the students for his many contributions to the school. The 45-minute ceremony ended with students singing a rousing rendition of "Let it Go" from the popular Disney movie Frozen. After the ceremony, Rev. Eric Wheeler, whose 4-year-old daughter Erin gave welcoming remarks, praised the school "as a showcase of what is possible for the community."

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Childhood Center, which welcomed about 130 children when it opened in September, is located next to the new Henderson-Hopkins school on Ashland Avenue, near JHU's East Baltimore campus. The center is currently enrolling new families.