AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– New Legacy Charter School may look like a typical high school on the outside, yet inside it’s actually quite unique. Upwards of 100 pregnant teens and teenage parents attend the school in Aurora to finish their education, all while their 60 babies are just down the hall.
“Some of the moms have toddlers, some have infants,” Cece Burgess, a 17-year-old student said, “so not only are we learning from our teachers, we’re learning from each other.”
Burgess transferred to New Legacy from East High School after she became pregnant last year. She said the charter school is a place of hope and opportunity.
“You kind of have a second chance at schools like this because they help you,” she told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann. “I feel like if I would’ve stayed at East, I probably wouldn’t be doing as well as I am now. I get to bring my baby, pick her up for lunch and eat together, attend the parent lab and interact with her and learn how to communicate with her better.”
The small charter school opened near Montview Boulevard and Dayton Street in 2015, offering high school classes for the young parents as well as an Early Learning Center for the little ones. Urban Land Conservancy partnered with New Legacy to help build the facility, but the state-funded school still has to pay a hefty lease.
“I’d rather spend the money on our kids,” Steven Bartholomew, the school’s executive director, said. “IF we’re able to own the building it will save us some money. Some money savings will lead to making sure we continue to have quality programming for our high school and early learning center.”
In order to buy the building, the school needs to raise $2.5 million. Thanks to an anonymous donor, Bartholomew is feeling optimistic.
“They’re saying, ‘If you raise $1 million, guess what? We’re going to give you another million dollars,’” he explained.
Right now, the school is about $130,000 short. The hope is to raise that money by Dec. 1 in order to unlock the generous grant. They’ll then need to raise another $500,000 by June so move forward with any negotiations and purchase.
“I am confident that there are people who are out there to support us,” Bartholomew said.
Just as Burgess is confident the community will step in to help the school continue changing lives for years to come.
“Not only would you be helping my generation, but you’ll be helping her generation,” she said, pointing to her 11-month old daughter. “It’s a great school and I’m forever thankful that this opportunity was put in place for me, that way I don’t feel so helpless and hopeless.”