Kindergarten Graduation Day 2011
Last week, five hundred and five slum children received their diplomas during the annual Mercy Preschool graduation ceremonies. Moms, dads, grandmoms, brothers, sisters, aunties, community leaders, and many of our local school sponsors joined in the celebration, a balance of traditional pomp and riotous fun. Fr. Joe, wearing his doctoral robes for the occasion, presented a diploma to each graduating student; and at the end of the ceremony, in a thunderous “call and response” speech, Fr. Joe encouraged the children in no uncertain terms to stay in school. “If your mom plays cards and your dad is drunk, what do you do?” he shouted out.

And the children shouted back, “Go to School!”

“If there’s no food in your belly and you are hungry, what do you do?”

“Go to school!”

“If it’s raining so hard, your shack is flooded, what do you do?”

“Go to school!”

Whatever is happening in their young lives, we want all poor children to understand, they must stay in school.  And if their moms, dads, or guardians can’t provide basic school necessities, Fr. Joe also made it clear, “call on us, don’t hesitate, don’t let your children drop out.”  (See the photo gallery.) Previous Graduation Ceremony here.)