GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.–As students eagerly count the days until summer vacation, teachers are packing their boxes at Creston High in Grand Rapids.
“One of the things that the students, staff, and administration team will talk about is Creston has been a family, ” said Creston High Principal Troy Wilbon.
With just a little more than a week of school left, Wilbon walked the hallways Wednesday, knowing the days in polar bear country are numbered.
“You know it is kind of sad,” said Wilbon.
The school, nestled in the northeast side of Grand Rapids, is closing as Creston for good. The move is part of the Grand Rapids Public Schools transformation plan, an effort to make better use of space and save money.
Creston was selected partly due to declining enrollment.
The remaining Creston students have the option to attend Central next year in the district and graduate under the Creston name. They’ll be the last group do so.
Meanwhile, the district has decided to move City High Middle students into the old Creston building.
“We are trying to make the transition as east as possible,” said Wilbon.
The historic building was built back in 1923 at the cost of $600,000. The first class graduated in 1927. Through the years, the styles and studies have changed, but some things have remained.
The old gym floor still stands, now located in the art room.
Another staple? school pride.
“I went from being home schooled in 7th and 8th grade to coming here to inner city GRPS. It was a shock,” remembers 17-year-old Creston Junior, Levi Vance.
“I got used to it and made all my friends and I met my best friends here,” said Vance, captain of the swim team.
He and many of his classmates were shocked and disappointed when they first learned about Creston’s closing.
“It really sucked,” said Vance.
He and other remaining classmates will get to finish out their high school days at the Central Campus and still graduate under the Creston name.
“We still as a unit go through everything and anything together,”he said.
The last day for Creston students is June 7th.
As part of the goodbye, a farewell party will be held on Wednesday in the cafeteria. It starts at 5:30 and the public is welcome. The school is expecting around 500 students, including alumni.
Creston will also be selling off some of the old yearbooks and polar bear memorabilia.
“Even though we are gone, we are not gone,” said Wilbon.