With caps and gowns flowing, nine preschoolers graduated Friday, August 25th, from St. Joseph Center’s Early Learning Center program.

The five-year-olds treated their families to three songs before they received their certificates, and site supervisor April Wright read aloud what each child wanted to be when they grow up.

“They have learned so much,” Wright said. “Every child who is graduating is a success.”

Graduation was bittersweet for the staff, Wright said, because they were sad to see the students leave but happy that big steps forward are now being taken.

The Early Learning Center, located in Santa Monica, is an all-day childcare program for homeless, formerly homeless and low-income children ages 18 months to five years.

In the classroom, children receive the emotional and mental support they need to overcome these stresses and gain basic academic skills that will help them do well in kindergarten.

Information, www.stjosephctr.org