November 20, 2006--Posted at 4:30 p.m. CST
DELAPLAINE, AR-- The Delaplaine Campus of the Greene County Tech School District knew there was a good chance their school would close at the end of the year and on Friday they received the bad news.
According to Greene County Tech Superintendent Sheila Ford, the Delaplaine Campus is closing because of declining enrollment and a growing budget deficit. Now, the residents of this small town must adjust and for some who have spent their whole lives in Delaplaine it is tough situation.
"I think I am the fifth generation educator and most of them had ties to this school," said Delaplaine school counselor Lynn Murray.
Murray graduated a Delaplaine Indian and has worked at the campus for 26 years. Like most teachers and students, she knew at the beginning of the year that the school was facing closure, but the announcement still hit hard.
"We know about losses and profits, but while we might know it, it is still hard. There have been a lot of tears shed," said Murray.
The Delaplaine Campus is truly unique in the fact that it's very tight knit, yet students come from four different counties. When they close their doors at the end of the school year, students will have to decide between at least five different school districts.
"I know it is going to be different. I am planning on going to Marmaduke, so it will be small, but not as small as us. It won't be like a big jump to (Greene County) Tech," said 11th Grade Student Justin Carpenter.
Some students will try to remain together as they move on to new schools; however others are facing new beginnings after attending Delaplaine Schools their entire lives.
"It means everything to me. I have been here 12 years and I won't get to graduate here like I had hoped to," said Carpenter.
Since opening more than 65 years ago, the school served as a rallying point for the community. Now, students and teachers are looking to the future while holding onto their past.
"I have done the homecoming the last couple years and I always start planning the next one as soon as this one is over. It was tough this morning with no planning for the next one," said Murray.
"I am staying here until it closes. I have been here for 12 years and I am going to stay till I can, until the last minute," said Carpenter.