A graduating senior of Kid’s Community College® (KCC) Preparatory High School.

Nearly every student and approximately 125 family members attended the Senior graduation ceremony for the Kid’s Community College® (KCC) Preparatory High School Doctoral VIII students on July 17. It had been months since many of the students and families last saw each other and even though masked and socially distanced, the fact that they missed each other was evident.

In his welcoming address, Founder and Superintendent of KCC Timothy Kilpatrick encouraged the inaugural graduating class of 20 students that they were “master gardeners” and said not to let the weeds of the present day and COVID-19 overtake the garden of memories and effort they’ve created over their academic careers.

Rather, he said they should “look to the good and grow,” only allowing the weeds “to be small sections of a beautiful garden full of rich soil and a much, much greater narrative.”

Although COVID-19 cases in Hillsborough County have spiked over the last few weeks and debate continues on how to handle the situation, KCC elected to hold a physical ceremony “because of our DNA and listening closely to our parents and students,” commented Kilpatrick.

“We closely monitored what’s happening locally, considered the physical, mental and social emotional health of our students and listened to our parents in deciding to move forward with a physical ceremony,” said Kilpatrick.

He added, “Our smaller, more personal campuses allow us to more effectively, decisively and quickly implement safety measures, makes contact tracing easier and reduces exposure since our schools are designed to serve a smaller population of families.”

In his closing address, Kilpatrick announced that each graduating senior would be receiving a cash scholarship that evening based on the number of years the students had attended a KCC school and provided stimulus money. They also were given a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship opportunity for the “gardener” that showed the most promise over the next six months.

“Our NAF Preparatory High School has been providing its scholars with paid internships through community partnerships, the potential for college degrees and credits early graduation, positioning our students for other advantages over their peers for three years,” commented new Campus Director Deidre Tucker.

“Everyone is feeling the effect of the present day circumstances, especially graduating students. They shouldn’t be excluded from efforts to ensure family success,” added Kilpatrick.

For more information about Kid’s Community College® Preparatory High School, visit www.kidscc.org.