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'I want to graduate:' Marian Pritchett students look toward the future

The high school in Boise that serves students who are pregnant or just become mothers is getting ready to relocate this fall.

BOISE, Idaho — Marian Pritchett High School has been in Boise's North End since 1964, helping thousands of teenagers continue their education while also caring for their child. 

As the school prepares to re-locate, KTVB took a look back at some of the history of the school and the building where it has taught and helped young mothers for so many years.

Since 1921, the brick building has belonged to the Salvation Army. Major Robert Lloyd says it first opened up to offer pregnant, unwed women as a place to come and give birth quietly. The babies, most always, were given up for adoption during that time.

"That was kinda the norm in the 1920s and 1930s," Lloyd said.

He said the building expanded services in 1928 after turning into what was a state of the art hospital at the time. 

"The services included tonsillectomies and minor medical procedures that people couldn't necessarily afford to find elsewhere," Lloyd explained. "It wasn't just women pregnant out of wedlock. Quite often it was families that just simply couldn't afford to go to the hospital to have a child."

MORE: Booth Marian Pritchett to include online hybrid model as construction continues on new school building

Then over a half-century ago, the focus of The Salvation Army Booth Memorial Campus drastically changed.

"The Salvation Army realized that more and more of our students were missing school time so discussions were held with the Boise School District and we've had a partnership with them for about the last 53 years," Lloyd said.

It has since served thousands of new parents under the name Marian Pritchett High School by providing childcare to the mother while they attend class.

Louree Ortiz is a current student at the school. A couple of years ago she got pregnant in high school and a short time later she joined about a dozen other teenagers in the program.

"Once they started telling me their stories, what happened and their family experiences and how they told their parents, it kinda made me want to open up a little more knowing that I'm not the only one going through it," Ortiz said.

She went to a graduation ceremony that same year and says it was a powerful experience.

"It made me think, like wow, I was in tears. This is what I want. I want to be able to graduate," she said.

Ortiz is now well on her way to graduating. She has been studying hard in these classrooms with her little Xavier in tow.

"Knowing that I can still have that comfort next to me (is important) because they bring him to me (when he needs to feed)," Ortiz said. "They understand here."

She says that emotional support has kept her spirits and goals high. 

"I do know I want to move on to college," she said.

Ortiz is excited to see what the next chapter brings. As the school prepares to relocate next school year many who have been involved, or have just enjoyed this historic building in the North End, are awaiting what the future holds.

"We estimate we've helped 10,000 women over the years on this property," Lloyd said. "We're extremely excited we have a new property that will allow us to do more services and we're excited to create more future stories and we're just looking for that future date when we get in and get things going."

The new location of the Marian Pritchett High School is expected to be open in early October. The school will now be in west Boise, near Horizon Elementary School.

Lloyd says the new location will be more accessible for students in both Ada and Canyon counties. 

The current building was purchased by a North End developer who plans to convert it into condos. 

MORE: Historic Booth Marian Pritchett School officially for sale

You can learn more about the school here and on the school's Facebook page

The Salvation Army is hosting it's third annual Daffodil Tea Benefit for Booth Marian Pritchett School on Tuesday, May 8. 

It will be at Jack's Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Daffodil Tea patrons are encouraged to wear classic "tea" attire, including a retro hat. 

Tickets are available here.