Tears were shed when Herman Elementary School closed at the end of the 2015-16 school year. The small projected enrollment of 15 students that year convinced the school board it was time to close. At the time, the school district retained ownership of the building.
That ownership will change hands July 31 when the building is placed up for auction.
Supt. Dan Gross said the school board decided in May to sell it as they were maintaining it, but not using the school very much.
"Either we do something with the building or sell it. We had discussion about keeping the property and razing the building, but thought maybe this was a good opportunity," he said. "We want it to be something that's useful for the people in Herman."
Though the school closed, memories are still fresh in the minds of teachers who taught there.
Pam O'Mara is a former teacher in Herman.
"I think it's probably emotional for everyone who went to school or had kids at the school," she said. "I worked in both Herman and Tekamah. The school in Herman was close-knit, a family, and a special place for kids, and my kids to go and for me to work there."
Janelle Ray said Herman Elementary School was "an amazing place to teach with the students and families that were there."
Ray taught at the school for 30 years and said her co-teachers all looked out for each other.
"We learned from each other," she said. "It was a rewarding experience and I wouldn't trade it for anything."
She was sad at the news it was going to be auctioned off.
"It's sad, but if they're not going to put the money back into it, something needed to be done," she said.
Ray described the inside of the school, with a big gym in the center and classrooms around the outside of it. She taught the combined fifth- and sixth-graders.
"We had great parental support and from the community," she said.
Ray said the sixth-graders got to plan and put on a haunted house for the rest of the school and helped preschool students with activities. They helped coordinate track day at the end of the year.
"Besides classroom learning, it was a lot of learning on how to plan and manage things that was a life skill," she said. "Students learned how to work together with other people and how to problem-solve."
Ray said they tried to make the last year at the school extra special.
"My dad used to bake bread and we only had 16 students that year," she said. "The students got homemade bread every week. Even today they'll laugh and agree they were spoiled."
Ray, who said the last day when the school closed was bittersweet, visited the school a few years ago.
"It's depressing because all the rooms are empty," she said. "It's heart wrenching when I think about it closing, but I know nothing can last forever."