Indianapolis—At the end of the school year in Anderson, the goodbyes went a little bit longer. Famous for its marching band's kilts and bagpipes, Highland High School closed for good Tuesday.
It's everywhere. In the hallways, the cafeteria. An inescapable sense of finality. The last lunch. The last locker check. It's more than the last day before summer break. It's the end of an era.
"It's a very emotional day, it is for the students as well as the staff," said Highland High School Assistant Principal Judi Ketring.
"It's very difficult to see the doors close as a high school."
Facing millions of dollars in the red, the Anderson Community School District decided to close Highland High School at the end of the year, ending more than a half century raising the Scot flag.
"This is my high school. I was a Scot when I graduated in '81, I'm a Scot today. I'm honored that I could be here the last day of school," added Ketring.
Many of the 1200 students will transfer to Anderson High School, Daleville or Yorktown High Schools.
"Nothing but tears in my house this morning. My daughter's a junior, would have like to finish her senior year, yet the school board has yet to be able to show us how they're saving money to justify what they're doing," said parent Mark Anderson.
"It's my understanding that although they'll be at Anderson High School next year, if they chose to have a Highland degree, the juniors will be able to have a diploma with Highland," said Ketring.
"It's very sad day, but I think it's good to know that you're the last class to go through here after everything, just always remember this day," said junior Krosley Ogden.
While Highland may be going away, the building is not going empty. As part of the district's consolidation, 7th, 8th and 9th graders will be welcomed here beginning in August.
Four elementary schools will also close as part of the redistricting. 165 employees lost their jobs as a result of the cost-cutting move.