New school year, new school for some Decatur students - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

New school year, new school for some Decatur students

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The first day of school is right around the corner but in Decatur not every school is getting ready for a new year. Brush College Elementary School shut its doors for good after the last school year.

Shirley Johnson has a long history with Brush College Elementary School.

"I went to school here in a wooden building," Johnson said.

And for 31 and a half years she was a crossing guard at the school.

"It's just hard not to do what I'm so used to," she said.

Now the 82 year old is calling it quits because the district called it quits on the school.

"I miss that getting up and coming," Johnson said.

Because the building wasn't just her workplace.

"It's just like my second home," she explained.

Principal Cynthia Houston doing everything she can to make Hope Academy another home for students.

"We want them to take advantage of making new friends, meeting new teachers," Houston said.

The school is opening its doors to around 100 students from Brush College who will be starting at Hope Academy in just two days.

"We want the energy that the kids go back home with on Wednesday to rub off on mom and dad and let mom and dad know that it is really okay," Principal Houston said.

Teachers are preparing but the question is will students be ready?

"Children are resilient," she said. "They will adapt. But sometimes it's difficult as adults for us to make that change."

Johnson doesn't quite understand the change.

"It's real sad," she said holding back tears. "I don't know why they had to get rid of it."

And while she has stopped being a crossing guard, she will always have her memories in hand.

Johnson said that she got a call Monday from another school to be a crossing guard but she said she thinks she's ready to retire.

For students who are starting classes at Hope Academy Wednesday, there is an open house night from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Zoning areas determined where Brush College students would attend school this year. According to school policy, teachers who lost their jobs had the option of choosing from any job opening in the disctrict. The closing will save school District 61 more than $450,000.

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