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Prospect Elementary Students sing their final concert before the school closes

The actress playing Little Bo Peep was ready to go.

"I think it's super awesome," said Jessikaann Johnson, a second grader at Prospect Elementary School. "It's one of my little sister's favorite characters from 'Toy Story.'''

Jessikaann and her classmates in grades K-3 put on a spring concert called "Prime Time Nursery Rhymes" on Wednesday evening.

The show had to be moved to Mansfield Senior High School's auditorium since the whole elementary school took part. The bigger venue also allowed room for props.

It was a bittersweet evening, marking the final concert ever for Prospect. The elementary school on Gilbert Avenue is closing at the end of the school year as part of the district's restructuring plan.

One of the school district's oldest buildings

Prospect has been around since the 1950s, making it one of the district's oldest buildings. Its dated infrastructure and recent roofing issues caused by snowmelt and rain would require $1 million for a new roof.

"I've been here for eight years, and I'm very sad to see the building close," teacher Keri Loughry said. "I will miss the students."

The uncertainty of what's to come was on hold, at least for a night, to enjoy a celebration.

"Because of COVID, we haven't been able to have many programs anywhere," third-year Principal Renee Bessick said. "This was a great opportunity."

Bessick sat at a small table, directing students where to go if they needed to get into costume or if they were simply singing. She also had their parents sign in.

"This is a good way to invite the parents," she said. "We are a Title I school. We keep track of parent engagement."

Prospect principal will miss students

Like most of the staff, Bessick will miss the students most.

"They have lots of energy," she said. "Every day is a good day, almost."

That energy was evident by all the chatter as the students sat in the auditorium before they took the stage. One tearful boy and one girl seemed to have stage fright and had to be coaxed to take their places on the risers.

They were fine once the signing began, under the direction of Douglas Lizak.

Students performed six numbers, including a pair featuring all four grades. The performance wrapped up in about a half-hour.

"It's not a long program," Bessick explained. "It's just a fun program."

Destiny Johnson, the mother of Jessikaann, said she felt "a little sad" about Prospect closing.

"All my kids have attended Prospect," she said.

Her daughter wasn't worried about going to a new school in the fall.

"I think it's going to be fun because I have my big brother," Jessikaann said.

Curisten Caldwell has a daughter in the first grade. She will transfer to Woodland Elementary School next year.

"I hope she enjoys it. It's about her, really," Caldwell said. "I want her to have a good experience all the way through, and this is the beginning of it."