By Cesca Waterfield
A plaque hangs by the door, placed there just two days earlier when Tracey Pitts opened a door at Polk Street to her “dream come true.” Like most dreams, this one materialized after many years of hard work and support from loved ones.
Which brings us to that plaque. Lorraine and Charles Squires, whose names appear in gold, are parents to Tracey, Marsha Neale, and Janet Markwith, who own and operate Little Eagles Child Development Center, which opened in downtown Montross last Monday. Charles is undeniably proud.
Proud, but not surprised. Together, the sisters have more than 35 years of experience in childcare.
“It’s been a dream of mine for a long time,” Tracey says. “I started right out of high school, working in day care centers and doing childcare in my home. This has always been a goal of mine. I was real happy it’s happened finally. And my family has been so supportive of me.”
Tracey’s husband John built the ramps and the fencing that surround the school. “I couldn’t have done without all his help,” she says.
The couple bought the house in June 2012 and began the long process of state certification and renovation. The Center has the inviting feel of home, yet it has all the functionality of a nursery school. It consists of four rooms, each dedicated to a specific age and a large kitchen to feed growing children. Out back are two play areas surrounded by sturdy wood fencing. All the teachers are state certified.
Sarah Davis of Montross has known Tracey and Marsha for 26 years. “If I had a child, Tracey and Marsha would be the best people, would be my first thought, to put my child there,” Sarah says. “They are the best I have ever seen with kids. Their overall attitude towards life and towards the kids – it’s all about the kids.”
The business moves into downtown Montross as the town gears up for growth and revitalization. The town is expected to receive a $530,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Housing and begin work this summer. Brenda Reamy, Montross Town Manager says, “I have worked closely with the Pitts in getting this project completed. It is a much needed business in the town and we wish them great success.”
In an operation all about raising children, it’s appropriate that the entire Squires family is behind Little Eagles. Older brother Eddie Squires says, “My sisters have always been very loving and there’s no one else I would trust with my children.”
A native of Montross now living in South Carolina, Eddie believes Little Eagles will benefit his hometown.
“I think it’s going to be a valuable resource. Since the Fun Factory closed there’s been no other day care in that area. Something like is a necessary part of any community.”