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Posted: Friday, March 17, 2006

Thanks for making conference a success

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You could practically see the electrical charge of brain synapses firing at the Southeast Alaska Early Childhood conference held this month. Over 150 early childhood educators gathered to share their ideas and passion for enriching early learning experiences for young children.

The AEYC board of directors and staff would like to thank the following people and organizations for contributions to this event: Holland America Line Inc., for providing the full banquet and reception at the Baranof Hotel, with the support of Susan Kaeser and her catering team; the University of Alaska Southeast, for providing the Egan Library center for seminars; the Association of Alaska School Boards Alaska Ice project, for providing travel support for individuals from Southeast communities; the Alaska System for Early Education Development Council; the Department of Health and Social Services; and the Cooperative Extension Services, for providing guest speaker support.

Thanks to our presenters: director of the Chiles Center in Tampa, Fla., Peter Gorski, Dr. Sonja Koukel, Kathleen Rhea, Diane Sly, Kathy Buss, Sheila Wray, Marjorie Hamburger, Rhonda Gardinier and Genevieve McLaughlin.

Alaska SEED Council members offered a riveting panel on the early childhood initiatives emerging in Alaska. Thanks to Carol Prentice, Kay McCarthy, Paul Sugar and Shirley Pittz, for offering a summary of the systems to improve the quality, affordability and access to high quality early learning for all young children.

Educators from out of town especially appreciated the opportunity to tour early learning classrooms. Thanks to the teachers who offered program tours: Dirk Miller, Gastineau School; Leah Ogoy, Harborview RALLY; Kristen Spencer, Harborview Preschool; Blue Shibler, Tlingit & Haida Salmon Creek Head Start; the Pioneer Home staff; and Gretchen Boone, Gold Creek Child Development Center.

Special thanks also to our honored guests: Senator Kim Elton; UAS Dean of Education Elaine Hopson; Superintendent of Schools Peggy Cowan; and award recipients, Mary McBride, who won early childhood educator of the Year, and Mary Hakala, who won advocate of the year; and family child care programs of the year winners, Marjorie Hamburger, Peter Otsea and Wilma Davis.

Finally, thanks to the conference committee and board of directors: Debbie Fagnant, Lori Brotherton, Kathleen Rhea, Cliff Doherty, Kueni Maake, Chris Thomas, Erin Chalmers, Katie Harman, Wilma Davis, Dennis Early and Jay Dick, for planning and coordination of the event.

Everyone who attended the conference came away with a renewed understanding of the science behind the power of relationships in children's early learning.

Joy Lyon

Association for the Education of Young Children

Thank you, Pennoyers, for giving and giving

A special thank you from the residents and staff of Wildflower Court to Stephen and Bonnie Pennoyer, for their endless support and assistance to our mission. They have donated both time and materials for multiple events and shown their willingness to assist in any other upcoming events. Wherever they can help they are more than willing to do so.

Thank you, from all of us at Wildflower Court. They just continue to give and give.

Val Cummins

Wildflower Court

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