CLINTON, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– With two weeks to go before Ernie Pyle Elementary School closes down, the school held a “last look” event on Saturday to allow former students, family and staff to relive some of their memories one last time.
The South Vermillion School Corporation made the decision to close the school earlier this year as a result of declining attendance around the corporation. Principal Kim Kesler said she was happy to see the crowd gather to celebrate the legacy of Ernie Pyle, a crowd that included many she hadn’t seen before.
As you can see, it is very, very crowded and I am thrilled with everybody that has come. I’m meeting people I had never met before, I’m seeing old students, I’m meeting old principals and teachers. It is absolutely an amazing event, better than I had even imagined,” she said.
The event included a number of giveaways, a chance to tour some of the building’s rooms and hundreds of people discussing what the school meant to them. Kesler said she enjoyed planning the event, but the it was emotional as it progressed.
“The emotion has been pretty high,” she said. “I have seen the love for this school for the entire five years I’ve been here. I’m actually not a bit surprised at how many folks have come out for this event today. Ernie Pyle has been a staple for the Clinton Community. There have been a lot of folks going through here since 1962 to the present day. To have people even coming in from out of town is phenomenal.”
Kesler said the corporation has found placement for students and staff who were supposed to be at Ernie Pyle next year. The building is up for sale, but she said they do not know what will happen with it at this point.