JOPLIN, Mo. — The last day of school is always bittersweet for teachers and students, and that’s especially the case today at West Central Elementary School where it’s the “last” last day. There was a lot of excitement as those kids enjoy final day activities and look forward to summer break, but it’s also emotional to think the school won’t exist this time next year, making this a tough last day for West Central student Millie Hunt.

“I won’t be here anymore and it will be gone,” said Millie Hunt, West Central 5th Grader.

Naveigha Sauls says she’ll focus on the experiences from the last six years.

“All the memories and kids I went to school with since kindergarten,” said Naveigha Sauls, West Central 5th Grader.

Debi Oaks has spent even more time at West Central, 11 years as a teacher and literacy specialist. Time she’ll treasure.

“This morning when I put on my West Central shirt, I thought this would be the last time I wear this shirt and that was hard,” said Debi Oaks, West Central Literacy Support.

She points to the benefits of the new school, while holding on to what made this school so unique.

“Even though we’re leaving, we’ll have our staff, we’ll have our administration, we’ll have most importantly the kids. But I will miss the wood floors and just the little cherubs over the water fountain and things that are kind of unique,” said Oaks.

Still, they’re going out on a high note, one last chance to create memories for kindergarten through 5th grade.

It’s water day.

“Playing with balloons and the fire truck squirts us,” said Melanie Slates, West Central 4th Grader.

A preliminary reorganization in the fall means West Central will serve only kindergarten through 2nd grade for both West Central and Columbia kids. Those 3rd through 5th graders will go to Columbia.

That’s all to set the stage for the move to the new Dover Hill school in December.