There was not an empty parking spot in the lot as many generations of the Pleviak community filed in and out to say a final goodbye to the beloved 100-year-old school.
The Joseph J. Pleviak Elementary school hosted an open house celebration Tuesday for alums to come back and reminisce one last time before its June 9 closing.
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The smell of popcorn greeted everyone at the door. Every wall was draped in colorful projects by current students. Quiet whispers of "I know who that is" echoed as Pleviak alums passed each other in the halls, just like they had so many times before for class.
"I wish that I could take a brick out of the wall," said Bob Weber, who began at Pleviak in first grade and graduated from eighth grade in 1958.
He said that he was looking for a specific mark on the gymnasium floor that was left when a school assembly stunt to show students the "evils of motorcycles" went wrong.
He also sent his son, Bob Weber Jr., to the Pleviak school for fifth grade in 1979.
Kathleen Hughes, a 1958 graduate, remembered going to seventh and eighth grade "in the very oldest part of the school."
"The bathrooms were in the actual classroom and we had hooks for lockers," she said.
Hughes, too, sent her son, Sean Young, to Pleviak Elementary.
While the alumni were sad, 12-year-old Lance Cope feels satisfied with letting go.
"I'm not really sad it's closing," he said. "I think that a lot of really happy things have happened here."
He added that he will miss students who will now be going to different schools.
Current students will transfer to either to B.J. Hooper, Olive C. Martin or Thompson.
Shonda Doty, a teacher at Thompson, has spent 19 years in the district, not including the years she spent as a student at Pleviak.
"I went to school here, I student-taught here in '93, and then taught here from '95 to '99," she said. "I couldn't let go -- I wanted to give back to the community."
Doty said it is a very hard goodbye, but she is excited to welcome the students transferring to Thompson who have the same "love connection with Pleviak" she has.
Doors will officially close to the Pleviak school on Monday with the last day of classes.
A portion of the building, which was built in 1910 and called Lake Villa School, will be leased to Round Lake Area Unit District 116 and used for kindergarten classes.