Brad Head Start celebrates 50th Anniversary

Thursday, June 11, 2015
Monday, May 18, Piggott Head Start employees plant a rose bush to commemorate the beginning of the program 50 years earlier.

Both Piggott and Rector Head Start celebrated the 50th anniversary of the national program at their locations this month.

The Piggott location began in 1990 in a small building located next to Piggott Elementary with only 18 children. In 2000 they moved to the current location at 1020 Taylor Street, where 32 infants/toddlers and 36 preschool attend daily.

Rector Head start began in a three-bedroom apartment located at the Rector Housing Authority with a total of 19 children. Today the Rector location is still in the Housing Authority, but in the James W. Graves center with 16 three-to-five-year-olds and 14 toddlers.

Locations across the nation planted rose bushes to commemorate the day President Lyndon B. Johnson stood in the White House Rose Garden to announce the creation of project Head Start, which was a federal effort designed to ensure at-risk children across the nation received a quality early childhood education.

Since the program began, 32 million children and their families have been provided comprehensive learning while helping families toward the path to self-sufficiency.

"Head Start empowered us as a family," Piggott resident Kerri Blackwell said. She and her husband were struggling to provide for their three children, and Blackwell was unemployed. Head Start helped with the financial costs for teaching the children and Blackwell began working on a part-time status. A year later she became a full-time employee.

"She and her husband give back to Head Start on a daily basis," center director Brande Boyd said. "They are always volunteering and donating things for the children," thus completing the circle of love and paying it forward.

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