Community gathers at Hillside Elementary before school gets shut down
Annie Scholz reports Video by 620wtmj.comvideo
BROOKFIELD- An emotional sendoff to a school that's been part of the community for more than 40 years.
It was a bittersweet night at Hillside Elementary Thursday. It was a sad goodbye for students and staff, some who'd come back after decades away. But it was also a celebration of all the memories made inside these walls.
After 43 years, Hillside Elementary is closing its doors. But those doors were bursting at the seams Thursday night with people who refuse to forget what the school has meant to them.
"It's just been a fantastic evening," said Principal Julie Kremer. "So many people came back to create this event."
Like Sherry Power, or "Mrs. Power" as her former students Nicole Lavin still calls her. "And she's come back tonight with two new little girls that I would love to teach some day," said Sherry Power.
It's been years since Lavin walked the halls. And knowing her girls won't be able to is tough. "I hoped my kids would come to this school some day and it's sad," said Lavin.
The school board voted to close Hillside, pointing to declining enrollment. It also saves the district a little more than a million dollars. It's a tough price, even for high school student Katherine Dolan, who still stays in touch with her Hillside friends. "If you see a Hillsider in the hallway we always say hi to each other."
Hillsiders now will be spread out across other schools in the district.
"It made me sad but I'll still get to be with most of my friends," said 4th grader JP Lobocki.
And have memories that no one can take away.
While Thursday was the big celebration, the kids still have a little time. Their last day of school is in two weeks.