Two more sleeps before we leave for our 10th anniversary trip. But I simply must recap Aiden's graduation before we leave. So here goes!
Unlike most other kindergartens, Aiden's kindergarten does not conduct their graduation after the concert. It is done in a separate formal black tie sit down dinner, just for the six year olds and their parents. And unlike any other dinners, this dinner is hosted by the Parents Support Group also known as the Graduation Dinner committee.
When I received the call from the principal, inviting me to join the committee, I said yes without much hesitation. Maybe because I did not expect it to be much work. Perhaps some meetings and minor organization. I even dragged Dayang into the whole thing. Little did I know that we were going to be solely responsible for the dinner. The school handles the logistics (event run, performance, dinner and venue) but everything extra has to be by the committee.
To start, we had plenty of ideas, but zero money to work with. Hence we ran a sponsorship drive. Dayang and I drafted a sponsorship appeal letter and the school made sure it was circulated to all the graduating students. The following week, I met with the rest of the committee for the first time. It was also the day we received our first sponsorship cheque. We were delirious with happiness! Soon, some parents started approaching us to sponsor baked goods, so I hatched the idea of running a bake sale. We circulated pre-order forms and ran the sale for 4 days. I met with so many enthusiastic parents then - some wanted to buy cupcakes for their child's entire class, some gave contributions without even a cupcake in return. You can read more about the bake sale preparation here. Alhamdulillah, it was a major success!
With the money in hand, we started working on mementos for graduating class. First priority was the year book. I mean, do you still remember your kindergarten friends? Well with the yearbook, you now can! Other than that, the budget went to personalized souvenirs, table mementos, hall decorations and clown entertainment.
|Money well spent - yearbook, personalized tumbler and personalized (kids' handwriting) ceramic coinbox.|
We also approached corporations and community establishments for sponsorship in kind. I personally approached Hilton, Jumpstreet, Beebop Circus, with positive results. Other than that, we got Legoland, JKids, Good Virtue, Lam Soon and Young Scientist to sponsor vouchers and products for our goody bags and lucky draws.
The day before the graduation dinner, the committee got to work packing the goody bags. I had to leave midway to fulfill a facial appointment that I had pre-booked. But I barely slept a wink during the facial. I was stressing about... giving a speech. Yup! As chairman of the committee, I had to also give a speech; to thank the teachers, parents and sponsors who had a hand in making the night a success.
|Goody bag packing! Check out the mountain of boxes!!!|
|A sample of the kids' goody bags.|
|Goodies in the adult goody bag. Can you spot the Lingam chili sauce? :P|
|82 goody bags - siappppp. And the checklist, handwritten on a box flap. *chuckles*|
|Can you spot Aiden's handwritten name (in orange) and his future dream job?|
We finished packing the goody bags way past 8pm. I rushed home, continued baking for my cousin's wedding (told you it was a chaotic week) then started working on my speech well past midnight. The next day, woke up bright and early to head to the graduation venue for hall decorations. Rushed to the wedding venue to setup the dessert table. Rushed home (why am I always rushing!!) for a quick shower then headed to a friend's house for makeup. Picked up Hubby and Aiden and went to OU to do my hair. Arrived at the Royal Club with just a few minutes to spare. And then suddenly we were ushered in, and tadaaaa it was time for my speech. (The entire day was such a rush that I didn't even have time to panic!)
|The graduation committee.|
|Thank you sponsors!|
|Theme for the night was Hollywood - hence the walk of fame idea; laminated handprints that was placed alongside the red carpet.|
|Table mementos - programme book, personalized bookmark and a short bio about each child.|
|It was certainly an honour and a privilege to stand on stage and give a speech on behalf of the committee.|
|Giving away a lucky draw item to a lucky parent.|
After the speech and the lucky draw were done, I was finally able to relax and enjoy the night. The awesome teachers really went all out with the beautiful hall decorations and performances.
The kids' performances kicked off with the valedictorian giving a speech (yes, valedictorian)! There were at least 5 performances by the kids, and a couple additional others courtesy of talented teachers and parents. Throughout the night, Aiden was involved in the angklung musical performance and choral speaking ("My mummy makes yummy macaroni! Mmmmm!"). In between performances, parents were free to walk around and mingle. All the attendees were definitely dressed to kill, so almost everyone would readily pose for pictures.
|Aiden and the angklung gang.|
|They played 3 songs that night.|
|Choral speaking. Certainly brings back memories of school!|
After all the performances were done, it was time for the graduation ceremony. The kids were all dressed up in red graduation robes, complete with mortar and even a white rose for Mummy! They lined up on the red carpet according to class, and as a surprise, one parent was invited to stand alongside their child and escort them to the stage.
|The perks of being named with the letter A - first in class therefore best photo opportunity! Posing with Aiden's class teacher.|
|Receiving his scroll from the principal.|
|Congratulations Periwinkle grads!|
|Mummies posing with their white roses, while waiting for the graduation ceremony to end.|
After the graduation ceremony ended, we were given another surprise. All of the kids, in their graduation robes, held a lighted star and walked into the hall. They started singing Wiz Khalifa's See You Again. It was such a touching performance.
|See you again, friends!|
|After the dinner ended, Aiden was finally released to us!|
|This was an idea I found off Pinterest. Sourced for the smiley face 'head' and balloon 'body', and then all I had to do was show the Pinterest picture to the school and then tadaaaaaa, it materialized! So much respect for the Real Kids teachers!|
|Group selfie! (Kesiannnn Ian kat rumah!)|
|The Real Kids gang.|
|Plus spouses and kiddos.|
|Kecik kecik pun dah pandai selfie guna monopod!|
|Aiden was sooooo happy when he opened the goody bag and found a Captain America Lego pack. He excitedly exclaimed, "Mummy, now I can complete my Avengers collection!" (Apparently Captain America was the last one missing to complete the collection.)|
|Last year's committee chairman, who is also a very talented baker; showing off her fondant cake creation.|
|Us with the school management team; the backbone of the graduation dinner.|
|The boys couldn't resist a photo with Sanjeev, the school guard. Sorry boys, you've got a longggg way to go for those biceps.|
|Last parent to leave - as I had to dismantle the hall decorations and balloon standee.|
|Way past midnight - Aiden and Danya with Teacher Michelle, the school principal.|
Well done Aiden! You did very well in your performances and your graduation ceremony. I hope the effort I put into the graduation dinner made it into a memorable evening for you and your friends. I'll end with an excerpt of my speech:
As the saying goes, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” Congratulations Real Kids Class of 2015. I wish all the graduating students the best of luck in their new year at their new school. Thank you.