A Laurelton, Queens parent of Caribbean roots is heaping high praise on a Guyanese-owned family day care provider in Laurelton for soundly preparing her son in becoming the Salutatorian for the 2020 graduating class at PS 38 in Queens.
Yolanda Smith, whose grandparents hailed from Trinidad and Tobago, told Caribbean Life that her son, Quinn Smith, 11, would not have accomplished the feat if Nicky’s Little Sprouts D.C., Inc. (NLS), owned and directed by Shaundell Agrippa, a 2018 Caribbean Life Impact Awardee, did not lay the groundwork.
“They say that a structure is only is as good as its foundation,” Ms. Smith said. “I can attest to that statement as being a true one. When we, as parents, go to work every day, we entrust that our children are cared for and pray that what we are teaching at home is not untaught when we send them off to school.
“I’m thankful that God allowed my family the privilege of NLS as an educational and moral foundation,” she added. “They, most definitely, helped to lay the groundwork for both Quinn and his sister (Malaysia), who is also at the top of her class and excelling in her academics.
“Their serious approach to early education is unmatched,” Ms. Smith continued. “Both Quinn and his sister left pre-school with a kindergarten education. I had mixed feeling when they both went on to kindergarten and were no longer challenged, as they breezed through the curriculum that was already familiar to them.
“Thank you NLS for that footing,” she said. “It’s played an essential part in their upbringing and education, and still does, as their current after-school provider.”
Ms. Smith said that Quinn, whose father is Guyanese, began his early education at 3 at NLS in fall 2012, graduating from NLS’s pre-school in the summer, 2014.
He then attended Flushing Christian Academy for his kindergarten year.
Due to his family’s relocation, Quinn then enrolled at PS 156 elementary school, in Laurelton, for first grade.
Ms. Smith said Quinn “scored exceptionally well on the gifted and talented test, and earned a spot at the district program but was unable to attend due to the location.
“During this time, I felt that PS 156 was not challenging enough, and I decided to enroll him into PS 38 at the recommendation of Ms. Agrippa,” said Ms. Smith about the NLS director, who was also a 2019 United Federation of Teachers (UFT) Juanita Diggs Educator of Excellence Awardee and holder of a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Brooklyn College.
Ms. Smith said Quinn excelled at PS 38, finishing his elementary years there.
During his 2nd grade year at PS 38, she said Quinn’s academic excellence allowed him to partake in a bridge class in which part of his school day was devoted to working in a class above his actual grade level.
“Throughout his years, every single one of Quinn’s teachers expressed their sentiments of Quinn’s diligence and of him being a model student,” Ms. Smith said.
She said Quinn also became a member of the PS 38 debate team during his senior year, “where he learned to discuss and argue controversial topics.”
Ms. Smith said Quinn’s history projects were chosen to represent PS 38 at the District 29 History Fair for three successive years, along with his sister’s.
In being chosen Salutatorian for the 2020 graduating class, Quinn “took home collaboration, citizenship and academic achievement awards,” Ms. Smith said.
She said he has been accepted into Queens Gateway to Health Sciences Secondary School in Jamaica, Queens, and will begin his middle school education there in fall 2020.
Ms. Smith said Gateway accepted about 100 from thousands of applicants.
She said applicant report cards are thoroughly screened, “as their (students’) acceptance is based on grades and attendance.
“This was absolutely a result of Quinn’s consistent diligence and meticulousness,” Ms. Smith said. “Quinn takes his work seriously, and it shows.”
She said she looks forward to Quinn’s “upcoming chapter and all the new challenges that lie ahead.
“Growth doesn’t occur without change, and it definitely doesn’t happen while you’re in your comfort zone,” Ms. Smith said. “My job as a parent is to help Quinn embrace those forthcoming challenges and not let unfamiliarity deter him.”