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Catawba Student Receives Standing Ovation During Smart Start Celebration

April 9, 2008

Category: Students, Teacher Education

by Jill Doss-Raines,

A child is like a flower seed, Lori Tart, chairwoman of the Davidson County Smart Start Board of Directors, told a crowd gathered Tuesday for the group's annual "Celebration" meeting.

Given the right attention, love and care, a child, too, can bloom into a beautiful flower.

Tart's comments were part of Smart Start's meeting at the J. Smith Young YMCA where community members, Smart Start employees, school employees and government leaders came together to learn about success stories in the community happening because of Smart Start.

Angela DraegerAngela Draeger, an employee in the preschool program at South Lexington Elementary School and Developmental Wing, received a standing ovation when she shared how encouragement from Smart Start had brought her very close to achieving a lifelong goal. She will graduate soon from Catawba College with a degree in early childhood education.

Draeger said she graduated from high school with a sixth-grade reading capability and was told she would never go to college. The joy of her life has been working with children, so she wanted to better her education so she could be a better teacher for them, she continued.

Through Smart Start's Education for the Starts Bonus Program, Draeger was given up to $600 per semester for classes taken to earn an early childhood education degree.
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