CASSADAGA - After being a part of the community for many years, and having countless groups of children pass through its doors, Cassadaga Elementary School on Thursday said goodbye to the last group of students that will ever attend class there.
The Cassadaga School Board voted on March 11 to close the school, a decision that will send all of the K-5 students to Sinclairville Elementary School for the upcoming year.
Cassadaga Elementary has had a time honored tradition of "Clapping Out" students who will be moving on from the building, and decided to "Clap Out" all of the students this year.
Traditionally, all staff line the hallways and applaud the children for all their hard work during the past year and to wish them well as they leave.
"This whole thing is just too sad for words," said 23-year employee Jo Farnham.
Besides the Clap Out, the first-grade class of Laurel Scudder also performed the school song.
"We have to keep in mind that this is just a building. It's the spirit within that made it so special, and we will definitely be taking that spirit with us," said school nurse Barb Crowell.
"In this day and age of budget cutbacks and deficits, certain restrictions become necessary," Cassadaga Village Board member Ron DeChard, who was present at the Clap Out, said. "My biggest fear is that in 3 to 4 years, we will see the taxpayers of this school district burdened with a large tax increase, due to a massive expansion & renovation at Sinclairville, when it would have been cheaper to keep Cassadaga Elementary open in the long run. Hopefully I'm wrong about that."
The Cassadaga Valley School Board appointed a committee to discuss options for what will be done with the empty building.