SUNNYSIDE — With tears sliding down her tiny cheeks, five-year-old Logen Hazzard didn’t want to leave the stage Wednesday night.

She hugged “Miss Mary” Schlenker, asking, “Why do I have to leave my school?”

Hazzard wasn’t the only one with tears in their eyes as the tiny graduates lined up on the United Methodist Church stage for the Sunnyside Methodist Preschool graduation ceremonies.

Even teacher Miss Mary was choked up.

“You are going to kindergarten now, and you can always come and visit me,” she told the anxious Hazzard.

After a year when the status of her preschool at the Methodist church was in question, she graduated 34 young guys and girls.

She announced to the families and friends of the future kindergartners that her school will be open another year in its same location at Ninth Street and East Edison Avenue.

The pre-school and a Hispanic Methodist Church and Nuestra Casa, all renting space at the church, were told in December they might have to move. Through some serious discussions, the three agencies were given at least another year in their same locations.

“So, we will be here next year,” Schlenker promised.

“We have been setting your children up to be good students and friends to new people they meet,” she told the parents, many of whom had been her students in years past.

“Their future is bright,” she reiterated, echoing the song the children sang during their special evening.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at

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