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For The Lancaster News
Carolina Christian Academy celebrated the graduation of 19 kindergarten students in a ceremony held on Tuesday, May 28.
The students were taught by K-5 teacher Cassy Pittman, who said she couldn’t be prouder of the tiny graduates.
“The children worked so hard this year,” she said. “We went over the material until it was coming out of their ears. We were simultaneously reviewing and learning new stuff and they just couldn’t get enough of it. They didn’t like to take naps, and when they get to first grade they will realize what they were missing, but they preferred to learn rather than nap.”
That willingness to learn was evident in this year’s Standardized Achievement Tests, with the kindergarten class ranking in the 97th percentile and averaging a learning level of first grade, ninth month.
Carolina Christian Academy overall ranked No. 1 in South Carolina and seventh in the nation with the test scores.
“I had some students who tested on a third-grade level in reading,” she said. “It was amazing to watch them, because at the beginning of the school year I had some students who were really struggling in some areas. They were having trouble with their letters and sounds. But by the end of the year they were reading big words, like words out of the Bible, and they were just so proud of themselves. They would come to me and be so excited and say, ‘I can read!’ I was just so tickled to hear them say that.”
Pittman said this year she switched her class from the regular A Beka curriculum to a more advanced curriculum and believes that contributed to the high test scores.
“They were much more prepared for the advanced material on the tests,” she said. “The advanced curriculum moves at a faster pace so during the year we were learning several letters a day and were able to move on to blends and one-vowel words much faster. They really did such a great, great job with it.”
CCA Administrator Dr. Huey Mills said the kindergarten graduation program gives the students an opportunity to showcase what they’ve learned during the year.
“Even though I’ve been in Christian education long enough to attend more than 30 of these kindergarten graduations, this year’s class wowed me more than any other class in all those years,” he said. “This was an unusually bright group of kids and their teacher, Mrs. Pittman, did an admirable job in developing the talents and gifts that God has given them.”
Pittman said that as of right now, she and husband, Walter, don’t have any children, but are hoping there will be some in the future.
“These students are my babies,” she said. “I love them like they are my own. I already miss them so much. We all need a break and summer vacation is a wonderful time, but I can’t wait to get back to teaching.”