GIESSEN, Germany — For Giessen High School students, the theme of this year’s prom — “The Godfather: Close Ties With the Family” — seemed entirely appropriate, given their tight bond.

“It’s just like a small town,” music teacher Eldon Kirkhum said of the school, which is closing due to the reduction of U.S. forces in Europe.

When the facility opened in 1985 it was strictly a high school, though it later opened its doors to accommodate middle school pupils.

In its heyday as a high school, there was upward of 500 students on the scenic campus, said Ellen Sheehan, an English teacher who was there for the opening bell and will be on hand for the final chime.

“We won everything,” added Oweida Cole, a business and computer teacher. “Football, basketball, we won everything. And please be aware that Shaquille O’Neal played (for Fulda) in our gymnasium.”

Those days, of course, are long gone. Army troop cuts over the years have bled the Griffins of talent and attention, though this past winter the boy’s basketball squad captured the Division III title.

“It’s so small nobody ever hears about us,” said junior Sasha Curry.

While Giessen is the largest of the three DODDS high schools closing this spring, its numbers have tailed off. Enrollment for the 2006-07 school year was about 250, including middle school pupils.

Still, students and teachers have rallied together to make it a memorable year. Sure it’s heartbreaking, they admit, especially since neither student nor teacher will have a building to come back to and visit. But they’re all moving in the same direction, as one, with the finish line in sight.

“It’s about time for Giessen to close,” senior C.J. Battle said. “We’ve had a good run.”

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