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It's not graduation, but kindergarten end-of-year programs are every bit a symbol of change and growth as a high school or college commencement ceremony. As with other Arlington diocesan elementary schools, kindergartners from St. Mary School in Alexandria put on a show for their parents June 15.

God and country were honored with flags waving, allegiance pledged and prayers offered.

Principal Janet Cantwell welcomed parents, and Father Edward C. Hathaway, pastor, offered an opening prayer. But it was the nearly 75 children who were the stars.

The show began with students Patrick Beretsel, Violet Torres and Rosie Berge holding a sign that read "Welcome to our school" as they walked across the stage representing the "start of our day." It was then a parade of classes that featured three sign holders and a chorus of children for each class.

Social studies finished the day of classes with Tate Leckey, aka "Uncle Sam," and Kate Lutz as "Lady Liberty" and two flag-holders, Tess Mahon and Matthew Persico.

Parents snapped photos with smartphones and everyone waited to greet the students with punch and cookies.

Parents Jessica and Joe Lowrance said their son, J.J., worked hard preparing for the show.

"He had so much fun practicing and singing in the car," said his mother.

Frank Moncher's daughter, Catherine, was a singer in the "start of our day" segment.

"Well done and very cute," said Moncher. "It's great that they involved all the kids."

Music teacher Nicole Luechtefeld said that kindergarten teachers started to plan for this celebration in April and worked with students teaching them songs. She said it was a cooperative team effort that made the event a success.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016