"1965 was a good year," recalls Kelly Cederholm, Head Start alum and current Head Start Teacher of The Year. "I was a barefoot, pony-tailed, shy little girl and someone told my parents of a new program that was coming to town. It was the year that Head Start would begin all over the country, and I was a part of the first class ever in New Hampshire!"
Kelly was the 5th child in a family of six. Her father worked full time and her mother stayed at home with the children. They lived in poverty.
"We were the typical group of children; often outside, running around, riding bikes, climbing trees, and being very active,” Kelly said. “When Head Start came it was a Godsend for my mother. It allowed her to bring me to a place that she knew would be safe and constructive.
"Specifically, I remember one thing about that first year. We rode on a bus to a place called ‘The Friendly Farm.’ It was my first time there, and when we left a kitten climbed on the bus with us. Strange memory? Maybe, but it wouldn't have occurred without Head Start."
Today, after 50 years, Kelly is still connected with Head Start. She is an Early Head Start teacher at the Lincoln Infant Toddler Center in Torrington, Wyoming and recently was honored as teacher of the year! "I''m still in Head Start, still loving it, and still learning!"
In honor of Head Start’s 50th Anniversary and Head Start Awareness Month, the National Head Start Association will be highlighting Head Start alumni each weekday in October. We will begin the month with Head Start’s youngest learners and conclude the celebration with the Head Start Class of 1965. As the month progresses, these alumni stories will exemplify the short-term and long-term benefits Head Start has provided for our nation’s most vulnerable children and families for the past 50 years.
Are you or anyone you know a Head Start alum? Share this story and sign up at go.nhsa.org/alumni!