Students at Bernard Elementary say final goodbye

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BERNARD, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Bernard Fire department led students on their final departure from Bernard Elementary School on Thursday.

The school, that has just 31 students, has seen years of declining enrollment.

Bernard Elementary sits just outside of Bernard, a town of 100 people.
Western Dubuque’s superintendent said with families getting smaller, there aren't enough students to keep the school open.

As the students clean out their classrooms, it's started to sink in. They'll never again step foot in this school.

"I'll probably miss all the teachers and what the rooms looked like," said Kenzi Martin.

The majority of these kids will attend Cascade Elementary school next year. That is 11 miles from Bernard.

"I am sad to be leaving here because Cascade in a big school. I am used to little schools," said Tanner Carey.

"I am scared I am going to get lost. It's so big, compared to this school, it's tiny," said Erica Cannon.

"There's one of each class, so we get to see our friends. But at Cascade there's two classes so we will split up and stuff," said Jillian Ruden.

Members of the Bernard Fire department had some fun with students during their final moments outside the school.

"There's a lot of us on the department who either went to school there or had kids go to school there. Or grandkids, so it's a neat way to send it off," said Bernard Assistant Fire Chief Mike Gassman.

As students loaded on to the school bus, tearful teachers waved goodbye. Students saying goodbye to the teachers who helped shape their lives. Some students who will go their separate ways next school year, found it hard to let go. Tiny arms, that have been linked together their whole lives, waving goodbye. One last time.