Local Church, Coffee Shop Partner to Renovate Hillcrest Teacher’s Lounge

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo — There are plenty of avenues for parents to get involved at their child’s school, but this could be a first: Picking up a broom and starting to push.

Chase Wagner, a local youth pastor, began volunteering at Hillcrest High School when he saw a need for more community involvement.

Up and down the floors he went during school hours.

He passed the office, the cafeteria, classrooms, and countless lockers without thought. He then walked by the teachers lounge and stopped

Inside .were old tables, torn couches, and uninviting walls. In his words, “a place no one would ever want to hang out.” That’s when inspiration struck.

“I’ve caught myself as a parent looking at the legalistic aspect of a teacher saying that they are required to teach my kids, and they are required to do this because I pay.”

“But then you realize at the end of the day that these teachers are just a person like I am. They have a family, and this is their job. They have a calling in life.”

“Why shouldn’t we be doing more to support them?”

His congregation at Hamlin Baptist Church were soon painting the walls. They also put on order new chairs and desks with the financial backing of local coffee shop owner, Eric Huie.

The final product, they hope, will include a coffee maker as well as grab-and-go snacks for when teachers forget a lunch. In essence, a place where teachers can do more than just make copies.

“This renovation means everything,” said Hillcrest Assistant Principal Kirk Slater.

“I think too often that people in the community are not engaged in what’s happening in schools.”

“No one is to blame for that, I think that’s just a reality.”

“So it’s exciting for me to see the opportunity to reach out and connect with our community members on this level,” said Dr. Slater. 

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