Last June, they moved from Hubbardston to West Roxbury having no idea that their children might not go to school in the neighborhood.
"I was just so unaware of how it worked around here," said Becky Wyatt, 27, who grew up in South Hadley. After a friend warned her to start doing her research, she now has a folder filled with research comparing public schools in her neighborhood. "A year in advance, youre thinking about Kindergarten whereas I just assumed probably April wed go and register."
For her 4 1/2-year-old son, Isaiah, she chose six schools and is in love with two -- the Lyndon and Kilmer -- where he has higher priority because he lives close enough to walk. But those are two of the most sought-after schools in the district. And the more she hears from other mothers, the less hope she feels.
"I just feel like everyone who lives in West Roxbury has those as their preference," she said. "Im preparing myself to not get into any."
That's disheartening for the Wyatts, who have been making friends in the neighborhood and trying to better the community through church service projects, such as a recent family movie night at a Roslindale housing project and a cleanup outside West Roxbury Education Complex, where their church holds services.
"Obviously, our desire is to send our kids to school in the community that we located ourselves in," said Josh Wyatt, 28, who grew up in Georgia. " It's tough to think you can live on a street with all these kids and they get on buses and go their separate ways. It doesn't seem that it helps the community aspect that we're trying to build as a church."
His Charles River Church will remain in West Roxbury. But the Wyatts will probably move if Isaiah gets shut out of his schools this month.
Their lease is up June 1.
Of course, there are a few other things on their mind .They're expecting their third baby April 1. And Isaiah could get on a wait list for one of his schools, leaving them in limbo into the summer. "Ill be honest, Ive had a couple very teary nights over it," said Becky Wyatt. "I was just feeling so helpless. Its so out of your hands."STEPHANIE EBBERT