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Parents camp out for days to enroll students at high school in Belton

POSTED: Friday, April 12, 2013 - 2:20pm
UPDATED: Friday, April 12, 2013 - 10:22pm

Well, you've seen people set up tents outside of stores for Black Friday door busters, and you've seen people camp outside theaters for the latest big screen spectacular.

But, you probably have never seen dozens of parents wait in tents to enroll their children in school. Since Thursday, families have anxiously gathered in tents and chairs outside of Tiger Stadium in Belton.

"It's a big adult slumber party," said Jeremy Pelley, who is the father of a soon-to-be freshman son.

These parents are waiting to get their freshman students enrolled in Belton New Tech High School at Waskow.

"You see people camping out for movies and stuff on black Friday, and this is more important than that," said Pelley.

Pelley was actually the first to arrive Thursday morning. And, because of his sacrifice, his son, Landon, does have confirmed enrollment for the fall.

"My son, the way that he learns, we think that this school will fit him very well," said Pelley.

Unlike Belton High School, this campus, which opened in 2010, offers a different, more specialized type of learning in a smaller classroom setting.

"We have project-based learning, lots of student voice. But then, our students have accessibility to all the high school extracurricular activities through Belton High School," said school principal, Deanna Lovesmith.

And, for parents, a high-quality education is worth camping out for two days.

"It's definitely worth it, definitely worth it for the kids' education," said Monica Hernandez, who is the mother of a soon-to-be freshman daughter.

So how are parents passing the time by?

"Meet a lot of other parents and just kind of talk and play some games," said Hernandez.

Enrollment will begin on Saturday at 8 a.m. The first 65 students already signed up have a guaranteed slot. The rest of the kids are picked in a lottery process.

"We'll always take about 130 students per class. And, we'll be a small school, so we'll be less than 500 students at the time we're at full capacity," said Lovesmith.

The school's first round of graduates will be in 2015. So far, school officials say no one has had to be turned down for enrollment.

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