Little Eagles preschoolers to graduate

Little Eagles preschoolers to graduate
Posted on 06/04/2020
This is the image for the news article titled Little Eagles preschoolers to graduateCONWAY — MWV Career and Technical Center teachers Kelley Murphy and Linda King have tried to make remote learning as special as possible for Kennett High School and Little Eagles Preschool students, and they’ve got something special up their sleeves to end the school year today.

Murphy, the child and education studies teacher, and King, preschool lab instructor, at the career and technical center at Kennett High School, will hold a celebration this afternoon for the 21 children ages 3-5 in the Little Eagles Preschool and 12 high school students training to be teachers.

“We call (graduation day) the little Oscars,” Murphy said. “It's our year-end celebration and it lets all the high school students celebrate each of the Little Eagles. We do it (this Friday) before our high school kiddos go into final exams because once the high school kiddos go into final exams, we lose our student teachers.”

Nine Little Eagles will graduate on Friday and head to kindergarten in the fall.

Graduation on Friday will take on a new look.

“All the Little Eagles, all the student teachers and all the families would have been in (Loynd Auditorium) at 3 p.m., and each Little Eagle would have been presented on the big screen by one of their student teachers,” Murphy explained.

"This year, we’re calling it a walk-through celebration. We've got the drop-off loop booked for ourselves from 2-4 p.m., but it'll be a little different," she said, adding "Mrs. King and I will be there as always.”

The high school students spend a month preparing for the little Oscars.

“It’s a little bit crazy because we're not sitting side by side with the (students) right now, as they're writing their narratives and they're creating their collages. We're doing it all remotely," She said.

"Each high school kid — plus, we adopted one. We technically have 12 enrolled in the program, but there's a little lady that's near and dear to our heart who's not gonna have the opportunity to be a student-teacher. So Grace (Murphy's daughter, a sophomore who plans to attend the Holderness School next year) is doing two narratives, as well.”

“It’s so heartwarming when you see the little Oscars happen,” King said. “That’s when you see teacher education and the Little Eagles blend so beautifully.

"The high schoolers highlight the littles so wonderfully that the parents sometimes are in tears. The high schoolers really know the kids and they definitely put that out there.”

King and Murphy remember leaving school on Friday, March 13, and telling countless students they would see them on Monday. Little did they know the final third of the school year would be taught remotely.

“It’s insane,” Murphy said during a 40-minute Zoom chat on May 27.

Three days a week, King and Murphy post videos or read books to the preschoolers on the Little Eagles Facebook page. They host a "Lunch on the Lake" Zoom chat on Wednesday afternoons from Silver Lake, and on Fridays King's daughter, Mandie Goodwin, a first-grade teacher at the Dondero School in Portsmouth posts a "Forest Friday" video taking the children on an outdoor adventure.

Aside from Forest Friday, King is the on-air talent, playing the lead in the videos while Murphy directs and Grace Murphy acts as videographer.

“I have lost track of the number of people — and it's not the high school students with these comments, it’s not even our families. It's people in Mount Washington Valley; it's people in Massachusetts who are like, this woman needs to be on PBS,” Murphy said of King. “She needs her own show."

"Or, we’ll get comments from adults," Murphy said, who say "'I just watched this, and no, my grandchildren are not in the room.'

“When we got down here my father-in-law Bob stopped by to drop something off, and he's like, ‘OK, you better get ready. I'm expecting a good one tonight.’”

“I’m telling you, no pressure here,” King said, laughing. “Sometimes we start laughing and I lose it.”

“Or the faces we’ll make to each other,” Murphy said. “When this first started I had a cold and all I felt like all you heard was my breathing in the background.”

“She sounds like Darth Vader,” King said.

“And once,” said Murphy, “I wanted to cough, and I was like, I can't cough now, everyone is going to think I have the coronavirus.”

Regular classroom events have gone online. For the past 18 years, King has led an annual leprechaun search in her classroom. She did it this year by video.

“May your day start as magically as it did for these preschoolers watching from home! I’ve got a mom worth more than all that gold!” Goodwin posted on Facebook on March 17, sharing a video of her mom in the vacant hallway at the career and technical center.

“Today is leprechaun day,” King says walking the hall. “I’m so excited, you guys. It’s 7 a.m., I got here a little earlier because I wanted to see if we caught one. So I’m going to go in now (to the classroom). Wouldn’t it be so exciting if we caught one? OK, I’m going in. I hope they didn’t wreck the room, because they do that.”

As she puts the key into the Little Eagles preschool door, she turns to the camera and says, “I’m a little scared because I know they’re nice but I always get a little scared. What if he’s sitting right there (on the other side of the door)? It looks like traps have been tripped.”

King proceeds through the classroom, finding a mess with tape around most of the desks, bits of Lucky Charms cereal all over the place and little green footprints.

“It looks like they wore our hats,” she said. “Oh, glitter (on the floor), they love glitter. Wore my sparkly earrings just in case, so they’ll like me right away.”

King takes viewers on a 10-minute hunt through the classroom, getting them to join into the suspense of the search. The video has garnered 4,200 views and counting and drawn rave reviews with 85 likes or heart emojis and 28 comments.

John H. Fuller School teacher Lauren Beckwith posted: “Oh my god, Mrs. King, you are the very, very BEST! We loved watching this! Bailey inches from the screen, ‘Mrs, King, open the box! Open the box, Mrs. King!!’”

Kelsey Ripa wrote: “Mrs. King, you are such a bright light through such a dreary time! You’ve always done this wherever you are! Thanks for the smile."

Karla Ficker added: “Linda you are a gift! Love you and the way you inspire our littles.”

“It’s been entertaining,” joked King. “I know we’ve entertained each other and I think we’ve entertained the kiddos.”

“We’ve got props, wardrobes and sets,” Murphy added, laughing.
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