Go Ask Mom

Looking for a Hero: 50-year-old Durham preschool needs new home

St. Luke's Preschool and Kindergarten closed unexpectedly last week, leaving parents and teachers struggling for answers and 85 children without a place to go to school this fall. Parents and teachers are looking for a space to call their own.

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Beth Messersmith
Editor's Note: Beth Messersmith writes for Go Ask Mom most months because of her participation in the group MomsRising. Today, she's writing about a personal concern - the closing of her son's former preschool.

Superheroes are an everyday occurrence at my house. As the mother of a small boy, I seem to be constantly stepping on Batman or Superman wherever I turn.

But this week I’ve found myself yearning for a real hero who can come to the rescue and save a wonderful preschool and kindergarten program that has served Durham families for fifty years.

St. Luke’s Preschool and Kindergarten closed unexpectedly this month, leaving parents and teachers struggling for answers and 85 children without a place to go to school this fall. Citing concerns about lower enrollment and a need for the space, St. Luke’s Episcopal Church decided to close a school that has taught two generations of Durham families.

The teachers, some of whom had taught there over 20 years, were let go and locked out of their classrooms. Parents who had been counting on this program for the fall were left scrambling for slots at other preschools, many of which had filled months ago. Rising kindergartners who had missed the lotteries for Durham’s magnets, year rounds, and charter schools were left in limbo with few options. And the children who had been looking forward to reuniting with their friends back at school in the fall were left struggling to understand what happened to their school.

Whatever the reasons, the decision has left parents, children, and teachers heartbroken, but determined not to lose a place that has been a treasure for so many years and which still has so much to offer our community.

Can you be our hero and help us honor the commitments that were made to these children and families?

We need a church or other facility that would be willing to open their doors and share classroom space with us, even if it’s just for one year. We have committed teachers with decades of experience and a passion for teaching; dedicated families; and eager little 3- to 5-year-olds who deserve the great start they were promised when they enrolled in St. Luke’s this spring. All we need is a home.

If you own or know of a space that could accommodate preschool classes and an outdoor play area, even for only the coming year, please contact the St. Luke’s Parent-Teacher Coalition at 919-218-6934.

This wonderful school deserves a second chance.

Beth Messersmith is a Durham resident and mother of a recent St. Luke’s Kindergarten graduate and a toddler who she hoped would attend the school one day.

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