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Morgan Hill
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February 9, 2023

Parents camp out for kindergarten

If one drove by Nordstrom Elementary at the crack of dawn Wednesday, they might think the school started selling concert tickets for the line that wrapped around the school with people clutching blankets, lawn chairs and tents. 

It wasn’t a rock concert these people were waiting for however: it was kindergarten. 

With some arriving as early as 2:30 p.m. from Tuesday afternoon – that’s 17-plus hours of waiting – about 50 families were waiting to register their children into Nordstrom’s kindergarten class. 

Erin Atkinson who had the No. 1 spot in line happily greeted and chatted with fellow parents 15 minutes prior to when packets were being accepted at 8 a.m. 

“It doesn’t seem as quite as many people as I thought, but it’s wanting the guaranteed space,” she said. Atkinson’s husband came at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to secure a spot; she switched shifts with him at 6 p.m.

After 17 hours of combined waiting, she let out a joyful “whoo-hoo!” when the doors opened at 8 a.m. 

Just behind her was John Mallory, standing with future kindergartner Megan, 5. His wife Katie also got in line just after 2:30 p.m. the day before. This is their second child they’ve waited in line for. Their other son is in first grade at Nordstorm. John too was in good spirits, joking with fellow parents. 

“With the camping atmosphere, it adds some fun to it and you make the best of it,” he said. “We all got to know each other, now more than ever.” 

“Which is kind of fun because all of our kids are going to go through all these years together,” added Sharon Kreig who alternated shifts with her husband throughout the night. She said their family moved to Morgan Hill, specifically to get their daughter Parker, 5, into Nordstorm. 

“We heard this school was just so good and we knew we had to do it,” she said. “I didn’t know we had to go to this extreme to get her in … but yeah, I think its crazy.” 

Kim Enderoe, No. 9 in line, is a veteran now for the kinder rock concert-style of waiting in line: this was her third time. 

“I’m going out in style,” she said of her camper that was sitting in the parking lot of the school, in case it rained. 

Principal Barbara Neal brought warm coffee and breakfast treats to the waiting parents at 6 a.m. She said the day before that she didn’t think the camp out was necessary: about 90 to 100 spots may be available. 

“I think what surprised me is how good-natured all the parents were. Everyone was very pleasant,” she said. 

Luckily, it did not rain during the night reported parents, at least not until some light drizzle about 7:30 a.m. 

At the end of the line, mothers Monica Velazques, Jennifer Gastelum and Nina Tarr arrived about 30 minutes prior to the 8 a.m. open registration period.

With son Daniel, 4, Gastelum said this will be her third child in Nordstorm; she has four total. 

“That’s why I’m at the end of the line,” she said laughing. 

Tarr has her older daughter Brianna at Nordstorm but had to go through some extremes to get there. Not already in the district system, she put her in private kindergarten. Then in April, she added her for the last month or so of school in Paradise Valley Elementary. 

“So she was in the system, she was on the waitlist to get into Nordstorm. So when first grade started, she was here,” she said. She, like Enderoe, thinks the district should have priority registration similar to the Charter School of Morgan Hill. 

After Enderoe got her child registered, walking back to her camper she questioned if the long wait was necessary. 

“See, it was a waste of time. I told everybody, lets not do it this year,” she said. 

Nordstorm wasn’t the only school this year however that had waiting lines. Paradise Valley Elementary reported at least 30 people, some of whom started lining up at 4 a.m. Los Paseos Elementary also had parents show up as early as 6 a.m. although they only registered about 35 total. P.A. Walsh registered about 20 people, but they waited only 15 minutes prior to 8 a.m.

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