After it was announced in December that Jacob Gunther Elementary School will close in June, the Gunther community came together to find ways to keep the school's 55-year legacy alive.
Gunther hosted its Handprint Project on Tuesday in which the school's 239 students placed their handprints on the walls of the school's gymnasium.
"This is a bittersweet feeling," Principal Marie Testa said. "I am extremely proud of this community. Gunther has always been tight-knit and to see the children's handprints reminds me of all that we have achieved."
The students had their hands painted in either blue or gold -- the school's colors--and then placed their handprints on the wall. Everyone's names were written under their marks.
Former principals Peter Young, Gunther's first principal, and Laurance Anderson also left their handprints.
Anderson, Gunther principal from 1983 to 2005, said he will always remember the beautiful moments he had at the school long after it closes.
"I have so many fond memories of our terrific students, caring families and my truly outstanding faculty and staff who accomplished so much for the benefit of the children throughout the years," he said. "The closing of Gunther is certainly bittersweet, but I am confident that it is the sweetness of our experiences at the school that will linger in our thoughts as we move forward."
Jennifer Fontana watched as her 8-year-old daughter, Hailey, made her gold mark.
"I am heartbroken for her because she is upset and she does not want to leave," Fontana said. "I think this project is great because it is a way for them to come together and keep their memory alive when they are gone."
Faye Saxena, co-president of the Gunther Parent Teacher Association, took pictures of the festivities for the school's last yearbook.
"We are very sad that the school is closing, but we are trying to leave a lasting legacy that the kids can remember their final year at the school," she said.
Testa said that she hopes that the handprints serve as triggers of fond memories for her kids.
"My hope is that they come and visit as adults, see these handprints and remember how much of a special place this is," she said.