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Waiting for Walnut
Walnut 1
Parents Bhupinder Sinsh and Rajvir Kaur wait anxiously to find out if their child was accepted into Walnut Elementary School during a lottery Tuesday night at the school’s gym. - photo by JONATHAN MCCORKELL / The Journal

Several hundred anxious parents gathered in the Walnut Elementary Education Center gym Tuesday night, waiting for their child’s name to be called on…”the list.”

Walnut, the lone magnet school in the Turlock Unified School District (TUSD), often has double-digit waiting lists for each grade. For most parents hope springs with the kindergarten lottery.

This year a total of126 spots were open for two educational concentrations, the first being math/science and the second being the visual/ performing arts program. Nearly 280 applications for acceptance were submitted.

The reason for Walnut’s popularity amongst Turlock parents is fairly simple, explained Vice Principal Robin Swartz.

“Parents talk and we’ve gained a good reputation,” she said.

On top of an excellent reputation, and higher than average testing scores, parents like Bhunpinder Sinsh and Rajvir Kaur have other reasons.

“This school is really nice looking and has a good system for our kids to have a better education in math and science,” said Sinsh. “It’s also right across the street from our house. If I had the money I would send the kids to private school, but I don’t so this is good. ”

The husband and wife have three children and two of them go to Medeiros Elementary and they were hoping their youngest could get into kindergarten at Walnut.

Turlock resident Jennifer Foreman, a mother of two toddlers, was waiting for her oldest child to get into the Walnut kindergarten.

“For her, the music program is very attractive and this school has a good atmosphere,” she said.

To Contact Jonathan McCorkell, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.