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HCC Celebrates Staff Achievement during Week of the Young Child

Halifax Community College celebrated the Week of the Young Child with a proclamation from Weldon Mayor Johnny Draper, left, and the recognition of one of the Child Care Center's staff on Apr. 15. Rhonda Johnston was acknowledged as the Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children's 2008 Early Childhood Educator of the Year. Pictured with Draper are Vicki Brown, Johnston, and Dr. Ervin V. Griffin, Sr.

There was much to rejoice at Halifax Community College on Apr. 15 as the campus celebrated the Week of the Young Child with a proclamation from Weldon Mayor Johnny Draper and the recognition of one of the Child Care Center's staff. Rhonda Johnston was acknowledged as the Halifax-Warren Smart Start Partnership for Children's 2008 Early Childhood Educator of the Year. The honor was presented to Johnston in recognition of her outstanding contributions to the lives of the young children in her classroom.

Vicki Brown, center director, nominated Johnston for the award. Brown, who came to HCC's Child Care Center in 2005, wrote, “I quickly began to recognize within her the emerging qualities of a good teacher. Over the past year and a half, I have witnessed first-hand her growth and maturity as a teacher of young children.”

Johnston joined the center as an instructor in 2004 after graduating from HCC's Early Childhood Associate Program that same year. She is currently the lead teacher of the center's two/three year-old classroom. As a future goal, Johnston would like to complete her bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education. She regularly attends early childhood education-child development training to stay up-to-date on the latest research and developments in the field.

“She nurtures the natural curiosity of each child. Her positive energy is contagious and her caring nature is apparent,” continued Brown. Along with her caring side, Johnston has taken an innovative approach to managing the classroom. Realizing that communication with parents is vital, she implemented a parent communication tool this year that has proven successful. She created a booklet for each child where notations could be made daily and shared with parents. Parents took the booklets home periodically, recorded responses and shared information with Johnston and the other teachers. In addition to this innovation, Brown credits Johnston with being instrumental in helping the center reclaim its five-star status in 2007.

The Week of the Young Child is a time to recognize the needs of young children and thank educators and others involved in building better futures for all children. The week is celebrated across the country by hundreds of local organizations working to improve opportunities for all young children.