By LISA CAPOBIANCO
Danylah Chavarria stood outside the entrance of Greene-Hills School last Thursday surrounded by her family, her principal…and a big red fire engine behind her.
Decked out in a red plaid skirt with a matching bow in her hair, Danylah looked around with excitement when she arrived to school in one of the Bristol Fire Department’s engines. Escorted by her big sister Alexaria, Danylah was selected for the First Day to Kindergarten Fire Truck Ride, an event that has occurred at the beginning of every school year in Bristol for the past eight years now. The Bristol School Readiness Council and the Bristol Early Childhood Alliance work together through the Transition to Kindergarten Committee on this event.
School Readiness Grant Manager Mary-Alice Petrucelli-Timek, who began the event through the Transition to Kindergarten Committee, said this year marked the first in which a student from the new Greene-Hills School was selected for the ride. It also was the first year for two siblings to ride together on the fire truck.
The Fire Truck Ride serves as an incentive program to encourage parents to register for kindergarten before the last day of the previous school year.
Danylah happened to be one of the early registered students, and was selected by chance. On the first day back to school on Aug. 27, the Bristol Fire Department greeted Danylah at her home before giving her a ride.
“I was excited for her,” said Danylah’s mother, Samantha Thomas.
“I was excited as well,” added Alexaria, who is now a fifth grader at Greene-Hills.
Timek noted how the School Readiness Council not only supports the community, but also the school system, as the goal of the initiative is to get children seamlessly into kindergarten. Early registration helps the planning process of enrollment run more smoothly.
“It’s a nice collaborative partnership,” said Timek, adding how the fire truck ride is exciting for children and parents. “It’s a way to support the school system.”
Gaudet said the fire truck ride is a great way for Danylah to start her school career at Greene-Hills, adding how School Readiness has done a great job helping make the enrollment process easier.
“We’re very excited—it brings an added level of excitement to the first day,” said Gaudet.
By LISA CAPOBIANCO