Possible last graduation held at Gordon Parks Elementary - KCTV5

Possible last graduation held at Gordon Parks Elementary

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Thursday was graduation day for students at Gordon Parks Elementary, but the day was filled with hope even as families prepare for the possibility of the school staying closed.

A special graduation ceremony was held at the elementary school for the fifth-graders moving on to middle school.

During the ceremony they heard an inspirational commencement speech by one of their classmates.

"Even though this is the end of school year and our time together, look at what the future has in store for you and do your best. That's what I plan to do," Tre-Veon Gilyard said.

School leaders and families hope it's not the last graduating class from their school as they fight with the state to keep their doors open.

"Keep praying and let this school stay open because this is a wonderful school. People love this school," Gilyard said.

Part of the focus at the event was the big fight ahead for Gordon Parks Elementary. Last month, citing low test scores, the State Board of Education voted against renewing their charter. But school leaders asked a judge to stop the order and now there's a special hearing on July 26.

"We believe DESE's (Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education) decision was outside the law and we intend on proving that their actions weren't in compliance with legislation and we're hoping the judge will grant a renewal of our charter," said Dr. Doug Curry, the president of Gordon Parks Board of Education.

Parents like Celestria Gilyard are anxiously awaiting the final decision.

"It's not over for me because my son is leaving. I have a 4-year-old that I want to attend in kindergarten because I believe this school is more than just a regular school. I believe this school means what it says when it says they see future doctors, lawyers and judges," she said.

The students leaving the halls hope others will get to experience their beloved school too.

"I just want more people to be here and get their education from this school too," Fifth grader Michelle Sifuentes said.

The school is hoping to have the community back them up in the fight. They have set up a special website called savegordonparks.org where they encourage parents to sign a petition.

School leaders said because many of their teachers had to go out and find new jobs they currently don't have enough teachers so, if the judge agrees to keep Gordon Parks open this fall they will likely only offer kindergarten through second grade during the next school year.

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