’Give Amarillo more of what’s lacking’: Opportunity School Capital Campaign in final stages

KFDA News at Six pt 2 - VOD - clipped version

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - In 2014 Serges Hakizima enrolled his daughter in Opportunity School’s Grand street Campus.

A decision he met with hesitation but does not regret.

“Every child who’ve been there of mine, they get out of there with a big baggage of knowledge,” said Hakizima. “They learn from there, now my two-year-old daughter, she knows a-b-c-d all the way down there so, she knows things, I never expected she does.”

Hakizima now has four daughters, and although Opportunity School is always his first choice at times it has been a struggle to secure them a spot at the Grand campus.

“To get a slot in that campus it’s been really wild,” said Hakizima. “I was kind of stressing out, you know, early morning you wake up, you go to this day care and you go to the other day care and then you head to your work site.”

He’s not the only parent that has been placed on a waiting list that’s why the nonprofit started the Capital Campaign to raise $4.5 million to support construction of a new center to serve more low-income families.

Construction is underway for the new home of Opportunity School Grand street campus.
Construction is underway for the new home of Opportunity School Grand street campus. (Source: KFDA)

“It’s time for us to update our space, parking was problematic,” said Jill Goodrich, executive director of Opportunity School. “This location really helps us build towards the future and gives us an opportunity to give Amarillo more of what’s lacking, which really is, high quality early childhood education.”

A study by Harvard Graduate School of Education found that children who attended high-quality earl childhood education programs were less likely to be placed in special education, less likely to be retained in a grade, and more likely to graduate from high school than peers who didn’t attend such programs.

Opportunity School’s Grand street campus, currently has eight classrooms and 65 students from ages six weeks old to kindergarten.

With the new space, they expect to have 12 classrooms and increase students by 40 percent.

“There’s a waiting list not only for our school but for others as well,” said Joan Urban, Capital Campaign Chair. “We were hoping that we would at least double our capacity, and this is the result, this building behind us, three wings.”

The future of the previous location will be determined by the Methodist Church who owns that building.

The new campus is located at SE 5th Ave, and Osage Street, a location that seems convenient for parents like Hakizima.

“I am from a little bit south so, I drive all the way on the east on north Grand and then my job site is at regional 16 here," said Hakizima. "Cleveland so you can see Cleveland and this campus here would be like the same thing.”

Opportunity School still has to raise $80,000 if you would like to help them achieve this goal, they’re starting their LIPS fundraiser virtually, today at 7:00 p.m.

One of the items at the silent auction is to get a personalized brick that will be put at the new playground.

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