Families hope to save Minneapolis school at risk of closing

Image 1 of 3

A Minneapolis school is closing its doors in 2020 after teaching kids for more than 65 years.

The school, which boasts famous alumni like NFL Wide Receiver Larry Fitzgerald, has a group of dedicated parents who are willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the doors don’t close.

“Kids are sad,” said Pilgrim Lutheran Church and School parent Kiesha Gilbert. “We’re sad and I feel like a part of my family is getting a divorce.”

Financial shortfalls are forcing Pilgrim School to close at the end of the 2020 school year, which breaks Gilbert’s heart.

“This is my heart and soul, and these teachers love my kids as much as I love my kids,” she said.

Pilgrim is where Gilbert herself attended kindergarten through eighth grade. She played basketball and cheered there, too.

“The bus driver here was my bus driver when I went here, and they are just as proud of me now and tell stories of when I was a child to my kids,” Gilbert added.

Gilbert has sent her four children to Pilgrim, neither of whom can imagine learning anywhere else.

“I was very sad and I was crying because I like my school,” said Lucy Gilbert, a second grader at Pilgrim.

In a statement shared on Facebook, Pilgrim’s pastor wrote, “Pilgrim’s financial problems have been in the congregational conversation for up to three years.”

“To see it close would be such a heartbreak to not just my kids but the community here,” said Todd Gilbert, a concerned Pilgrim dad and the school’s basketball coach.

Now, the Gilberts are beginning to prepare a plan to save Pilgrim, which is the place they consider their second home.

“I just don’t think we should give up,” Todd said.

“I don’t have a plan B yet and I’m not making a plan B yet,” said Kiesha. “We’re going to fight until the end.”

The Gilberts and other parents would like to start a committee and look at what can be done to prevent Pilgrim from closing. They hope to first meet at Pilgrim Lutheran Church Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.