In 1973 St. Luke’s Children’s Center opened in Summerville.
The Children’s Center was started by a Pastor Dominic and operated by its first director, Joyce Dubis, and its first two teachers Vickie Stender and Nell Hair.
The school hit it off with 4 and 5 pre-kindergarten students.
Now the school boasts 125 children and is celebrating its 40th year running with an anniversary party on May 4.
Director Mary Reid the Children’s Center began as an outreach ministry for St. Lukes Lutheran Church.
“We have adults who used to go here and now their children are coming here,” she said. “Throughout this entire community there are children and adults that have attended this center. I’m trying to get the word out to them to come out to the Children’s Center and remember the things they did here as children.”
The school now serves children up through 4K. The upcoming 40-year celebration will feature a service at 11:15 a.m., during which 2, 3 and 4-year-olds will sing. A reception and open house will follow.
Kathy Revill is the center’s administrative assistant and has been at the center for 31 years. She said the family-like atmosphere, the children and the staff have created a “feeling of home” and kept her at the center.
“The children come first,” she said.
Revill has had two children and four grandchildren come through the school. Right now her twin 5-year-old grandkids are enrolled.
Revill feels through tradition and word-of-mouth the school is known for having a good reputation.
“We hardly have any openings,” she said. “We always have long waiting lists.”
Children are enrolled in half and full days at the school, though a majority are full-day students. Revill said they offer their students a hot lunch every day. The Children’s Center also offers a scholarship named after one of the teachers that first taught at the school, Emily Lair.
Revill said she excited about the Children’s Center making it to 40 years.
“I think it’s a very big accomplishment; with all the change that has gone through the economy the school has remained steadfast,” she said. “There has not been a year that we didn’t have a good enrollment. We’ve had teachers who have been here between 25 and 30 years – we probably have five teachers right now who have been here 25-plus years. I think they find that this is like a family.”
The celebration will start at the church’s sanctuary and move to the Fellowship hall for the reception. There will aslo be a slideshow presentation with pictures of the kids – some of them dating back to 40 years ago.
“We hope a lot of people will come,” Revill said.