By Stephanie Choate
Two years ago, the school board at Trinity Baptist School made the tough decision to shutter the school’s high school segment, due to declining enrollment and tight budgets.
But parents weren’t willing to let that happen, said school board member and parent Jennifer Anair.
“Once parents were notified, it was clear that they were willing to do whatever it would take to keep the school open,” she said. “Thankfully, we never did close our doors.”
That meant cutting costs and pitching in. Now, volunteers clean the school, help out in the administrative office and cafeteria and even teach art and music.
“We realized that we had to be creative to make things work and that our families were willing to make it happen,” said Anair, who has four children in the school and said she values the strong teacher-student connection and the school’s Bible-based approach.
Williston resident Erika Mellman, who has two students in the school, teaches choir and hand chimes to older students and general music to those in kindergarten through grade 5.
Mellman, whose family does not belong to the church, said she and her husband decided to send their children to Trinity Baptist for the strong science and math curriculum and because her daughter had some behavioral challenges they were looking to meet more thoroughly.
She said she found out about the intended closure slightly after the fact—parents who attend the church were notified a day earlier than parents who are not members—and she and many parents were “alarmed.”
Anair said that after parents were notified, they held a meeting with the school board and immediately began offering ways to help.
“We came together and talked through it,” Mellman said. “Parents stepped up said, ‘Wait a minute, we really value this and we’ll do pretty much anything to prevent this. What would it take?’”
Now, the school, which has 68 students enrolled in preschool through 12th grade and 15 in high school, is celebrating 41 years and inviting the community to come see what it has to offer.
The school is hosting a Thanksgiving lunch on Nov. 21, which is open to the public. For more information, call the school at 879-9007 or visit www.tbsvt.org.
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By Stephanie Choate