Students, faculty, and the city of Waldo gathered after school on March 9 to take what might be their last school picture.
Waldo Community School, teaching children from kindergarten to fifth grade, may soon be closing. Superintendent Owen Roberts has recently announced that he intends to close the school due to financial issues and have the students attend another school further away.
Since it’s opening in 1922, the school has never been closed, even for renovations, said Brenda Keith, a classroom aide and reading tutor at the school.
“It’s 93 years old,” Keith said. “If it’s shut down, it’s gonna deteriorate.”
Tracie Griffith, the Parent Teacher Organization treasurer, has been an active spokesperson for keeping the school open. She set up a Facebook page in support of the school, which now has more than 500 likes on it.
She has also set up a GoFundMe account in an attempt to raise money for the school and show the school board the community cares about the school. It has currently raised $500.
If the school and community are unsuccessful in their efforts to keep the school open, any money raised through the GoFundMe account will be used toward benefiting the Waldo Community, according to the GoFundMe page.
She is also currently working on a presentation to sway the school board’s opinion.
Her own children attend Waldo Community School and she said she has no idea where she will send them to school if the school is forced to close.
“I’m not just fighting this fight for my children,” Griffith said, “I’m fighting for the community.”
Her own mother, Debbie Powell, teaches fourth grade at the school and was a student there when Waldo Community School was a high school.
“I love teaching at this school because I live here in Waldo,” Powell said. “This is my community. We’re just a big family. Everybody knows the kids.”
Powell said she believes Roberts’ decision to close the school would be detrimental to the community.
“In the process, he’s not only going to destroy a community school,” she said. “He’s going to destroy the community.”
At the school board meeting scheduled for March 17, the school and members of the community plan to ask Roberts and the school board to keep the school open, at least for one more year, Powell said.
The picture of the school for this year, being taken by Powell’s husband, Jim Powell, Jr., will not only include students and faculty, but members of the community. Their goal is to show the students and members of the community who will be affected by the school’s closing, Griffith said.
“If nothing else, we have a picture of the last class,” she said.