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SO REMEMBER ME WHILE I’M SMALL

The tradition of Kindergarten Graduation began at least 30+ years ago. It is a wonderful way for the children, families, teachers, administration and clergy to celebrate the first year at St. Mary's, and mark an important transition into First Grade. 
Kindergarten is after all, the first experience that children have in attending a large school, full time. It is a particularly special year, as they become part of the tradition of being a St. Mary's Saint. Some will eventually become part of the 13-year Saints and recognized at their high school graduation. 
 
In the past, graduation was hosted at St. Mary's Church. At that time, there were only two half-day classes and one full day. As our program grew over the years, and additional classes were added, so did the celebration. Festivities were relocated to our mission church, St. John Neumann about 15 years ago where we were also able to celebrate with a lovely reception in Seelos Hall to accommodate more people.  St. Mary’s averages four kindergarten classes with approximately twenty students. 
 
The Graduation prayer service itself gives the children an opportunity to highlight that they are not only growing in academics, but growing in faith as well. They recite their "first prayers": the Hail Mary, the Our Father and the Guardian Angel Prayer; and demonstrate their beginning knowledge of understanding a foreign language as they begin and end with the Sign of the Cross in Spanish. The children also sing several faith based songs that touch the hearts of all who attend. 
 
Kindergarten teacher, Jennifer Feeney, says, “To me, Kindergarten Graduation represents the accomplishment of a very important year. It is a celebration where parents and teachers come together, look at our little group of 21st century learners and say, “Wow….they did it!”  For children, they have heard about this tradition since they walked through the Kindergarten doors. “When do we get to graduate?” It is a dream that they aspire to- walking down the aisle, crossing the altar steps, and proudly exclaiming, “I’m a big kid now! First Grade here I come!” Though the ending is always bittersweet, the Kindergarten teachers have an immense sense of pride when we reflect on all that our Littlest Saints have achieved in a year. Growing in independence, learning to navigate multiple academically driven activities in a classroom, working cooperatively with their peers, and learning to respect themselves and each other all while growing in their faith.  Now more than ever, children should be celebrated.  This is not simply a commemoration for the sake of a party; it is a milestone worthy of this very special tradition.
 
The conclusion of the graduation is the children’s rendition of the song, "Fingerprints" which is a wonderful message to their families that they are growing up, and moving on to another chapter.  A musician named Mary Rice Hopkins wrote this song.  It was selected years ago by our Music Director, Ceil Ambrosetti, and taught to the children throughout the year. 
 
Fingerprints
When you find my little fingerprints
All over your bedroom walls
When you want to yell a bit
‘Cause they’re even in the halls
Well I know it’s hard to believe
But once you were a kid like me
And one day I’m gonna grow up
So remember me, while I’m small. 
 
I get in the way a lot of the time
Though I’m only three feet tall
I make you forget what’s on your mind
You trip over my toys and fall
But I know it’s hard to believe
Once you were a kid like me
But some day I’m gonna grown up
So remember me, while I’m small
 
I’ve heard that where you treasure is
That’s where your Heart will be
I don’t know much about hearts and things
But I’m glad you’ve treasured me.
 
I wanna make great fingerprints
But I promise not on your walls
I wanna touch those around me
Though I’m only three feet tall
I know it’s hard to believe
Once you were a kid like me
But someday I’m gonna grown up
So remember me while I’m small…
 
Graduation for our Kindergartens is also a special time where they are presented with a Devotional Medal.  This medal captures the images of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This year our Kindergarteners learned about Mary and her son Jesus.  Though these lessons they began to understand how important it is to love, to be kind to one another, to keep trying even when it is hard, to forgive, and to pray.     Congratulations to our Class of 2029!
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St. Mary’s Parish, a Catholic congregation served by the Redemptorist Order, includes St. Mary’s Church and St. John Neumann Mission Church. St. Mary's Elementary and High School located in downtown Annapolis, Maryland, serve students in grades Kindergarten through 12. Anchored in faith, rooted in tradition, and committed to excellence, our programs build lifelong learners who are servant leaders.
Elementary School Contact Information:
High School Contact Information:
Phone: 410-263-3294
 Fax: 410-269-7843