“A world collapsed for me”: Parents and teachers are stunned by the sudden closure of the Aynor daycare center

Adam Benson and Savannah Denton

13 hours ago

AYNOR, SC (WBTW) – One parent was shocked and one teacher was heartbroken.

This was the shocked reaction of dozens of people after the Salem Baptist Church in Aynor announced the sudden closure of its daycare center on Monday. The closure on July 26th marked the end of a 40-year tradition.

“I was devastated and shocked that they would do something like this,” Principal Kim Hucks told News13. “They didn’t prepare me for this. They didn’t give me any indication of how they were going to close it.”

Pastor Randy Hilburn, reached by text message, declined to comment.

“Please inform your staff and parents of this decision and timeline so they can make future arrangements,” Hilburn wrote in a letter to Hucks on Monday.

Mother Lacey Hatley said the news hit her hard not only because it had thrown her family off balance, but also because the daycare had become a second home to her.

“It’s difficult to find not only another daycare, but basically just another family,” she said. “I may have to take a vacation or even quit my job until we have daycare space again. Many places in the area have waiting lists, even up to a year in the future.”

The employees will mourn the loss of the children they have grown fond of.

“I came to school on Monday morning with a smile on my face. And my colleagues gave me a piece of paper. And then my world fell apart,” said preschool teacher Susan Rogers.

Hucks said she asked church leaders for an extension and even offered to lease the building, but was told no.

Now they and others hope that a new location will be created.

“The parents support us in everything we do. They want to go everywhere we go. We all want to stay together,” Hucks said.

Parents and daycare staff turn to the community for help.

“I hate to ask. But these are our children here. These are our children,” Rogers said. “And we have to give something back to them. Because at some point this will be part of their history. They will know and remember.”

Savannah Denton joined News 13 as a reporter and producer in July 2023. Savannah is from Atlanta, Georgia and is a graduate of the University of Alabama. Follow Savannah on X, formerly Twitter, and read more about her work here.

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Adam Benson joined News13’s digital team in January 2024. He is a veteran South Carolina reporter with previous stints at the Greenwood Index-Journal, Post & Courier and The Sun News in Myrtle Beach. Adam is a Boston native and graduate of the University of Utah. Follow Adam on X, formerly Twitter, at @AdamNewshound12You can find more of his work here.