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HEIDELBERG, Germany — There were songs and speeches, laughter and tears this week as Heidelberg Middle School and Patrick Henry Village Elementary School held their closing ceremonies.

The younger school, Heidelberg Middle, which opened its doors to students in 1976, held its event first, where the remaining 171 students and the staff sang and shouted about Panther power.

The school chorus performed “Ease on Down the Road” — the ceremony’s theme — as well as “Thanks for the Memories” and “So Long, Farewell,” while the jazz ensemble played a heartfelt “Goodbye my Heart.”

Guest speakers were Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Europe Director Nancy Bresell, Heidelberg District Superintendent Steven Sanchez, U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Württemberg commander Col. Bryan DeCoster and former Panther Jacob Patrick, who is now a Navy fighter pilot.

For closing remarks, principal Stephanie El Sayed brought the two teachers with the most years at the school — Mag McGinley and Donna Seaton — and the two with the fewest — Thomas Bugg and Ross Brand — to sing a Panther rendition of “My Favorite Things.”

Bresell, Sanchez and DeCoster also spoke at Friday’s ceremony at the elementary school where the theme was “Forever Bobcats.”

The focal point of the ceremony was the school chorus, which seemed to be at least half the student population. They performed “Onward,” “Memories of Heidelberg,” “Forever Bobcats” and “We’re All in This Together,” with the rest of the student body joining in.

Other guest speakers were Rachel Gribble, who was a teacher at the school when it opened in 1955, and former student Karlynn Peltz O’Shaughnessy, a retired U.S. Army Reserve brigadier general, and the sister of elementary school principal Allison Peltz.

The closures are part of the U.S. Army’s drawdown in Europe.


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