Friday was the last day of regular classes at Union High School in Dugger after the school board voted in December to close the high school and Dugger Elementary because of budget constraints.
The mood of the students in the halls of Dugger High School was a mix of celebration–for the end of the school year–and somber as they relished interactions with staff and teachers they won’t see again this fall.
Students at Dugger Elementary and Union Junior/Senior High School will attend schools in neighboring towns like Linton and Sullivan or transfer to other schools within the Northeast Community School Corporation.
Principal of Union Junior Senior High School Shane Reese says the school tried to prolong closing the school as long as possible by sharing teachers with the other high school and using online classes. He says many in the Dugger community are mourning right now.
“The closing of a school is traumatic experience,” Reese said. “Not only on the kids but on the community. I think if you look at the history of it, where they’ve closed in small towns they lose the community.”
A group of parents and community members submitted a charter application that was denied May 1, but the group says it will meet next week to continue pursuing a charter option for the future.