No other last day of school was celebrated like it was at Mountain View Middle School.
The school, opened in 1979, closed Friday – part of the East Valley School District’s measures to tackle declining enrollment, meet state budget cuts and switch to a kindergarten-through-eighth- grade system.
“It is sad, but we didn’t want to spend our last moments in a pity party,” Principal Tammy Fuller said.
To mark the occasion, students gathered in the gym for a short presentation before heading outside for a flash-mob dance.
They participated in a school tradition – watching a slideshow of photographs taken by the yearbook staff throughout the year.
When it was finished, one of the students yelled, “Let’s watch it again,” a sentiment that was met with cheers.
Keith Osso, sportscaster at KXLY and a former Mountain View student, said a few words. Osso was on the wrestling team the last time the Lancers lost a match in December 1990. “But we started the streak,” he said.
During the last week of school, Mountain View celebrated its traditions. There was a community day which brought back many former students. Everyone who visited and the current students signed the gymnasium wall to leave their mark on the school, a place that many teachers and students describe as a close-knit community.
“In just about 32 minutes, you won’t be Lancers anymore,” Fuller told them. “But you will still be Lancers in spirit.”
After moving outside, a small group of teachers stood in front of the crowd before the Black Eyed Peas song, “I Gotta Feeling” blasted through the sound system. They started to dance, sometimes awkwardly making the motions, before the rest of the teachers joined them.
Then the students joined in. Seventh-grader Ellie Reavis choreographed the moves and led everyone in the dance.
“It’s kind of cool that I got to be part of that,” Reavis said.
The whole group took a bow at the end of the dance, which was filmed and should be on YouTube soon. After the cheers died down, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out,” started to play through the speakers.
The students and teachers shared a lot of hugs and laughter, but there were many tears, too. Instead of telling their teachers to have a nice summer, students asked their teachers where they would be teaching next year. Teachers will be spread out throughout the district.
“This was the best school in the district,” said Lisa Nunlist who teaches an eighth-grade block of history and English. She talked about the school’s art and music programs which she said were on the level of many high schools. She’ll be teaching at East Valley Middle School next year.
Tessa Pratt, who teaches seventh-grade language arts and social studies as well as consumer education, said the school was like a community. She will teach at East Farms School next year.
“It’s been good,” Pratt said of the last week of school. “The kids have been fantastic. They held it together.”
The hugs and tears continued as the students and teachers moved toward the buses that would take them home from Mountain View one last time.
Teachers waved as they herded the students onto their buses and smiled and laughed. The students opened the windows and shouted their goodbyes and waved before they pulled out of the parking lot.
The teachers continued to wave and smile until the buses were out of sight. Then many wiped the tears from their own eyes before packing up their classrooms.