PUNXSUTAWNEY — More than 300 people crowded into the Alliance Church Tuesday to watch the Rainbow Express pre-school graduating Class of 2011 receive their diplomas.
There were four groups of students graduating. Cookie Monsters and Big Birds are ages four and five, and many were in their second year at Rainbow Express. The Muppets and Little Birds are first-year students between the ages of three and four.
The children began the night with singing and performing to songs such as "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," "Five Little Speckled Frogs" and "Over in the Meadow." Each student had his or her own special part in certain songs, where he or she dressed up and performed in front of family and classmates.
A video slideshow, "Welcome to Our World," highlighted the students' accomplishments throughout the year. The slideshow seemed to be one of the graduates' favorite parts of the night, as they laughed out loud after seeing themselves on the screen.
Before receiving their diplomas, each child's name was called followed by what he or she wanted to be when grown up. Doctor was the most popular occupation, but firefighters, cheerleaders and even superheroes received mentions.
Karen Blough, director of Rainbow Express pre-school, was one of many who helped the children learn the songs and make the night one to remember.
"The graduation was amazing," she said. "The kids and parents were both so responsive. They really sang out, and the kids had so much character."
A picnic will be held from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m today at the Alliance church in the Family Life Center for the children to join with their classmates one last time.