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.
In 2003 in Danville, VA, Reverend Ronald Pridgen and his wife brought two-year-old Jordan Pridgen home to join their family. Jordan was kind hearted and smart, but had trouble expressing himself. His father and mother, former Head Start students, knew just where to send him: Community Improvement Council Inc. Head Start.
It was there that Jordan was able to develop his social emotional skills and reinforce the basic math and reading skills that he was honing at home. Head Start allowed Jordan to develop from a shy child to the adventurous young man he is today.
At 13 years old, Jordan is a Civil Air Patrol Cadet and can co-pilot an airplane, an above average student, and an entrepreneur. This year both he and his older brother started their own businesses after joining the "Young Entrepreneurs Academy." At the end-of-year competition, Jordan placed 6th out of 11 students ages 12 to 18 years old, while his brother, Jamiah, took first place.
“Head Start does not end at graduation,” Jordan’s father said, “and our son is proof of that.” The skills Jordan gained in the first few years of life have encouraged him to reach farther and accomplish more than ever imagined.
Photo: Jordan Pridgen, Congressman Robert Hurt and Jamiah Pridgen (right to left)
Throughout Head Start Awareness Month we are spotlighting alumni from across the country. Check back every weekday as we publish new stories!