Paddle to Pre-School Parade

By Kalvin Valdillez, Tulalip News

Nearly thirty vehicles formed a line that began on 76th St. NW, wrapped around 36th Ave NW, and led to the Betty J. Taylor Early Learning Academy parking lot on a hazy August afternoon. Inside each car were eager and excited students who successfully completed the academy’s birth-to-three program and have now earned the official title as the new ‘big kids’ of the early learning center.

In total, thirty-nine future leaders received their very-first certification-of-completion and will be moving-up to the pre-school side of the academy beginning next school year. 

As each car entered the parking lot, the students received a large cut-out star with their names written across it. When the cars drove through the TELA property, the students were cheered on by their teachers, friends and family members, who recognized the little ones for their first-of-many accomplishments of their educational journey. 

 “Today we had our Paddle to Pre-school Parade,” said Marcilena Vela, TELA Birth-to-Three Administrator. “Our three-year-old’s, from our birth-to-three early head start program, are moving over to either Montessori or ECEAP next year. This is our first drive-thru celebration parade, due to COVID. We usually host it up at the gym. This is important to celebrate because this is a milestone for the kids, and it gives them the opportunity to show how much they’ve accomplished in the short little three years of their lives. We had a great turnout! We had 27 out 39 children.”

The kiddos also received gift baskets and popcorn buckets from their teachers, a bittersweet moment for both parties as they shared a final student-teacher exchange together before the students begin the next exciting phase of their education across campus.