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Taylor Center dedicated

A dedication was held Friday for the Andy Taylor Center for Early Childhood Development that included comment from Longwood University Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Dr. Paul E. Chapman and Longwood University President W. Taylor Reveley IV.

“We’re always about what we can do together,” Chapman said regarding the culture of Longwood. “Many of my colleagues, early colleagues, when we got together we started talking about how to bring an early childhood development center to Longwood University, and so we found the coalition of the willing, and then we had a great big meeting, and we shared our vision of what may come in terms of helping children and their families.”

He said the center is aimed at doing what students are asking the administration to do for them and the generations after.

“If every child could read on a third-grade level by third grade, it doesn’t matter what they do educationally after that — their chances of living well and having a good life are 85 percent,” Chapman said. “…The Andy Taylor Center for Early Childhood Development is the model for fulfilling those demands.”

The dedication also saw comment from Sara Taylor, the sister of Andy Taylor — the child of Dr. Jane Taylor — who the center is named after.

“Longwood holds a special place in our family’s hearts for many reasons,” Sara said. “I am so incredibly proud of Longwood and my mother for working in tandem to help create the Andy Taylor Center.”

She said the center stands as a tangible and lasting symbol of her mother’s lifelong passion for and commitment to education.

“Particularly, early childhood education. She’s been putting her passion into practice for the last 17 years as a preschool director at St. John the Apostle Catholic Church,” Sara said.

She said before her tenure there, her mother was a high school and then a middle school assistant principal.

“I am so happy that the 13 short months of Andy’s life will live on thanks to this amazing center. My mom’s sister, my aunt Fran, shared a few words with me that I’d like to share today,” Sara said. “Fran said, ‘Only a few of us here today actually knew Andy Taylor during his short life with us. We remember him as a loving, adorable little child, and we desperately miss him. Adding his name to this facility will be a lasting memorial for Andy. Considering the mission and location of this center, I believe that his presence will continue to be felt here for many years to come.”

Reveley spoke about Dr. Jane Taylor’s commitment to childhood education as well.

“You have inspired a lot of people… to do a lot of great things, and it’s all just getting started, the best lies ahead,” Reveley said.

Following the dedication, Kim Hailey, site director of the center, said having grown up in the area and having studied it in college that it was “really rewarding to see us do something like this within the community.”

“To be able to provide very high quality to a very diverse community of students is both meaningful and very rewarding to me,” Hailey said.