Tuesday, September 15, 2009

STUDENTS! “If we build it, they will come!”

The founding families had decided that their target number was 90 – without that many students, the school simply wasn’t viable and the doors would not open. Recruiting was vital and the passion of the parents kicked in. As founding parent Gary Yale states, “What we had was the soul of the school.”

With a school site still under construction, the founders set up shop in a meeting room at what is now the W Hotel in Westwood.

Founder and parent Scott Jacks said, “The teachers for each grade set up work stations around the sides of the room. Prospective parents went from table to table, talking to the teachers about what their kids would be doing in each grade."

And then founder and parent Mark Solomon gave a pitch. Well, it was more like a plea. An eloquent plea.”“I asked these parents to make a leap of faith,” Mark Solomon said. “The first thing I tried to do was convince them that we did, in fact, have a school. I simply opened by saying, ‘We want you. We want your children.’ I was supposed to sell these families on our school, but I wasn’t really selling. I was just saying what I believed and what I felt.”

Throughout the summer, enrollment numbers crept up. 80….81….82. As a new family was added to the rolls, the founders would call each other, celebrating each new student as a victory.

“We hit 90 and then it hit us,” said Gary Yale. “It was happening.”

Despite doubts from all corners, building, teachers, and students were finally ready!

On Monday, September 19, the doors of The Willows Community School opened.

Lisa's mother applauded, "You have turned lemons into lemonade!"

Watch for the next blog entry:
"The FIRST first day of school!!"
Please join us in sharing your stories and reactions to the first days at The Willows. Send any photos or artwork to ssleeper@thewillows.org

1 comment:

JWU said...

First comment! Wow, so this is how the Willows started. I miss it already!