"It's just cool being the last class that'll be able to graduate from here," said Jon Stubblefield. He just graduated 8th grade from Slaughters Elementary, the only school he's ever attended.
"We've just been, I guess like every other class, sad about what's happening, but I guess it's what they had to do," he said. Friday, the building likely looked how no student has ever seen it before: classrooms boxed up, desks pushed into the hallway, bare bulletin boards, and the gym floor, still littered with celebrations from this week's final graduation.
"This is really hard for me," said Cindy Slaughters. Slaughters is a family affair for the Stubblefields. Cindy is the 5th grade teacher.
"I attended school here. First through eighth grades. My father graduated high school here. My brother and sister graduated from here and I have two children who graduated from here," she said. Teachers gathered in the library for their last staff meeting before teachers and students are distributed to other buildings in the district. This is Tiffany Jones' first year as principal. She always knew this was a possibility, but she says that doesn't make it any easier.
"Did I ever think I would live it? Not neccesarily," she said. "After the fact, it was really just reassuring our students." School board members relunctantly voted to close the building two weeks ago, after losing nearly half a million dollars in state funding.
"Everything dwells around money. We have to have it and you can't do anything without it," said Jon Stubblefield. Stubblefield understands what many have a hard time wrapping their head around. Some people here say the Commonwealth has been playing financial games for years. But in this round, it was the town of Slaughters that lost.
Leaders say no teachers will lose their jobs. They, along with students, will be sent to schools in nearby Dixon and Sebree.