Graduation season arrived at Armstrong Court in Greenwich on Thursday morning. The littlest graduates finally had their day, and it was worth the wait.
Dozens of pre-schoolers in decorated mortar boards marched across the field to Pomp and Circumstance as eager parents and family members blew bubbles and zoomed in on cameras and iPads.
After the procession of graduates Site Manager at Cara Rambusch welcomed everyone before students sang a song. The nervous energy was funneled into smiles once the certificates were presented. Laura Howe, who has been a nurse for 13 years with the program was feted for her dedicated service.
After the ceremony there was a pot luck lunch served but two dozen volunteers from Morgan Stanley. Brad Barber and Chris Templemen along with about two dozen volunteers arrived early to set up the event,crate a gauntlet of high-fives during the procession, serve the lunch and, finally clean up afterward.
According to Jennifer Flatow, the volunteer efforts of the Morgan Stanley crew are especially valuable because in the past the event was run by parents. “This way the parents can actually see the graduation,” she said. “Morgan Stanley helped with the caps and gowns and provided a book for each child to take home, as well as a lot of the food. They’ve been underwriting this event and volunteering for three years now with their internal campaign. They’re very community minded.”
Brad Barber, Morgan Stanley’s Managing Director and Complex manager in Coastal Connecticut, who brought his own teenage daughters along to volunteer at the graduation, said that giving back is important. But, he said, the overriding themes of diversity and inclusion are paramount.
“It’s wonderful to watch the parents as they watch the kids graduate. And to see the gleam in the eyes of the children. This is probably their first certificate they’ve been awarded,” he said. Also, Barber said the month of June is “Global Volunteer Month” at Morgan Stanley.
Family Centers thanks benefactors Lone Pine Foundation, Viking Globa Foundation, Tudor Foundation, United Way of Greenwich and the Housing Authority. Major supporters include Oaklawn Foundation, Edward John Noble Foundation, Greenwich Rotary Foundation, The Lily Palmer Fry Memorial Trust, Greenwich Office of Community Development, The Per and Astrid Keidenreich Family Foundation, First Presbyterian Church of Greenwich, Joanna Schulman Fund and The Women’s Club of Westchester.
Special friends include Brunswick School, Bunny Weicker, Linda Conti and the Greenwich Dept. of Health, Community Connections Inc, Friends of Greenwich Library, Community Centers, Inc. Greenwich Board of Education, UBS Financial Services, Greenwich, Greenwich Alliance for Education, Bimbo Bakery USA, Friends of Greenwich Library, Lori Liss, Dept. of Public Health, Margaret Walsh at Greenwich Library, Patty Sechi of Armstrong Court Community Gardens, Morgan Stanley, UBS Financial Services, and Greenwich Garden Club.