WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Families whose children attend a Piedmont school are praying it will find a way to stay open next year. The Winston-Salem Christian School recently got word that the Winston-Salem First Church is selling its property and ending its support of the school.
On the web page for Winston-Salem First, they said they decided to sell the school and discontinue their partnership. “Independent of our decision to sell our property, our leadership reached the decision to end our existing financial support of the school. It’s not a decision we reached easily,” it reads.
A sale with Wake Forest University is pending and could be finalized by this summer. In a statement Wake Forest said, “Several steps must occur before the sale becomes official and we will share additional information after the closing takes place.”
Winston-Salem Christian is a ministry of the Winston-Salem First church. The possibility of the church selling the property has been a possibility for a long time. But school leaders say they thought they would be given more time, and money to make a plan to keep the school up and running after a sale.
“Wednesday night I went to a board meeting and we’re told that the church had sold the property to Wake and we’d need to be out of the building by the end of the school year,” said Bryan Wolfe, the head of the Winston-Salem Christian School.
Wolfe addressed parents and students at an assembly on Friday morning at the school. Many of them were visibly emotional at the news.
“I didn’t believe it. It was such a shock. I wasn’t expecting it at all. And it still hasn’t really hit me yet,” sophomore Matthew Spong said.
Now instead of planning a 40th anniversary and homecoming celebration, school leaders are working to find a way to keep the school open.
“Our first priority would be an appeal to Wake about staying here. The second part would be a capital campaign,” Wolfe said.
Some students are even pitching in to save their school. The head of the school said little ones offered to donate their ice cream money. Older students started a GoFundMe campaign that’s already raised nearly $20,000.
“We needed to do something, we couldn’t come here and know there is not something we could do. So I decided that we are going to fight for our school,” junior Abigial Bernreuter said.
Bryan Wolfe says they are reaching out to other churches for support and a possible new location. In the meaNtime, they’ll pray for a way to keep things running.
“We don’t know what we’re going to do without this school because it’s been a really good experience and we all love it here,” eighth-grader Ena Cabrera said.
The head of the school says they are not getting any money from the sale of the property, but the church tells them the faculty will get paid through the end of their contracts, and the church is hiring a company to help place them in new jobs if needed.
A spokesperson for Wake Forest University says there are no immediate plans to develop this property.