DARMSTADT, Germany — With a month to go before the end of the school year, students and teachers at the one school left in Darmstadt’s military community are torn.

Many can’t wait for summer break to begin, but they know that when the school year is over, so is their school.

“There’s been a school here in Darmstadt for 60 years, and we have a teacher here who’s been here for 40 years,” said Elizabeth Thornton-Bremer, who teaches both elementary and middle school students and is heavily involved in preparations for the school’s closing ceremony. “We’re really making a big deal out of it.”

All the students are taking part in the school’s May 29 closing ceremony in one way or another, said Danna Behne, who teaches music to elementary students. She had her students write down their fondest memories — one recalled hitting former principal Russ Claus with a whipped cream pie — to post around school for the closing.

Three students contributed to designing the logo that will adorn every student, teacher and — if there are enough to go around — visitor at the ceremony.

Every student from fifth grade and younger is going to sing a couple of songs adapted for the occasion as the band plays along. There will be dancing, and some students, parents and teachers will share their memories.

“It’s hard after so many years, especially for teachers who have been here such a long time. Everybody’s going someplace else,” Thornton-Bremer said.

“It’s exciting on one hand and scary on the other.”

From the students’ perspective, the school’s closure is, in some ways, business as usual.

Many students are used to changing schools every two to three years, and most haven’t been here long enough to get too attached. Even some who have been here a long time, in youthful terms, aren’t particularly bothered.

“I’ve been here nine years so, I’ve see lots of friends come and go,” said Alina Kulmala, a 13-year-old eighth-grader.

The students, in her opinion, are the school’s main component, and the makeup of the student body has always been in flux. She’s gotten used to change, she said. So while the only school system she’s ever known is closing, “I’m not really sad about it,” she said.

But Alina’s is a minority view.

“I don’t want it to go. I like it here,” said fifth-grader Matthew Franklin, 11.

However, he’s looking forward to the end of the school year, he said, “Because I want to go to Wiesbaden.” Nearly all his friends are transferring there, too, he said.

“Everyone likes summer vacation,” said 14-year-old Katie Thomas, an eighth-grader preparing for high school.

After weighing the pros and cons of dragging out the remainder of the year to cram in more memories or just getting it over, Katie said, “I think it’s better just to move on, especially since we’re moving. It’s really just a whole new beginning.”

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