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  • Shirley Harriman

Preschool Without Walls (PWW) holds drive-thru graduation

Palmdale – Antelope Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AVHCofC) – Sylvia Duarte, President of the AVHCofC offered the site for a graduation drive-thru ceremony for the students and families to enjoy and record through videos and photographs. Four PWW classrooms combined to give a rousing and exciting ceremony in spite of COVID-19 and its restrictions following all safety protocol on Saturday morning May 29, 2020.

CofC President Duarte said, “Kevin Guillen of South Bay Counseling Center (SBCC) came to me and requested assistance for a PWW drive-thru celebration of the students’ completing their courses and ready to graduate. Friday the City of Palmdale is closed which made a perfect day for us to have this event. At this time of crisis, the importance of graduations cannot be overlooked. The teachers and the community came together to celebrate the kids and families and to make this a graduation not to be forgotten.”

In partnership with SBCC for two years is PBS who rallied around the event furnishing a summer activity booklet, PBS Kids Read bookmark, a Reading Chart and Molly of Denali stickers to keep the students active until the next school term starts. Ms. Sandra Cruz, Early Learning Coordinator said, “How far do we reach with our programs? Here we know we have increased our outreach. We are located in Costa Mesa. For children and their families, we have a program called Molly of Denali, a 10-year old Alaska Native which is an American-Canadian animated television series created and produced by Atomic Cartoons and WGBH Kids for PBS Kids and CBC Television. It is the first program featuring indigenous community.” More information is available on for your child’s summertime educational entertainment.

Each classroom had a pop-up with graduation gifts for their students. Back packs packed with activities and supplies, graduation caps in black, red and blue, certificate of completion forms and other treats were handed to the students b y their teachers as their parents drove them through the graduation procession line. Their photos were taken, from a distance, with frames on stands by the car. As the cars passed through the line, horns were honking, everyone was clapping and cheering their students and waving colorful balloons in their honor. The students were surprised and riveted with their graduation, their first experience and what a memory they will hold on to!

At the end of the event, each teacher was presented with a balloon and floral bouquet and certificate of appreciation for their tireless dedication and efforts developing these young minds and preparing them for their scholastic lives.

As each teacher received their just recognitions, the other teachers cheered and clapped for them and snapped photos of each other. This was women supporting other women supporting the family unit, the most important support system for the students.

A great family support system, the miracle of other people in their lives is what these students enjoy though Preschool Without Walls. Preschool Without Walls is a free, bilingual class for children ages 0-5 and their caregivers. Participate in learning activities that not only engage the child but show caregivers different ways to interact with their children at home is the program.

The Mistress of Ceremonies was Erika Schwerdt along with Kevin Guillen, Gaby Leyva and Marcia Sanchez, all staff members with SBCC and Best Start in the Antelope Valley.

If you desire more information on what is happening with Region 5 Best Start, please submit your request to You will receive a weekly e-mail blast.

You can also contact Best Start Community Organizers Erika Schwerdt or Kevin Guillen:

Our Mission: SBCC’s Preschool Without Walls program is structured as an alternative, innovative preschool program designed to serve children ages 0-5 in communities where traditional preschool is unavailable or where families choose not to access preschool for cultural, social, or financial reasons. PWW takes a similar preschool setting and activities, with extension of STEM added onto the curriculum. Parents and caregivers learn along with children and take home very valuable, incentive bonding in a fun and educational way.

The County of Los Angeles Children and Family First proposition 10 community organizing program supports the work of the network of "Neighborhood Action Council" (NAC) throughout L A County. A NAC is a group of community members that build relationships around shared values and then design and implement projects, programs, and events to improve their lives and the life of the community.

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