Buena Vista seniors pick up cap & gown; district prepares to reopen

The Buena Vista school board voted Friday evening to recall all 27 laid-off teachers. Classes at the districtâ??s three schools will resume Monday.

It's a light at the end of the tunnel.

â??It feels awesome. It feels like I achieved something already,â?? says Laurenzo Caldwell, a senior at Buena Vista High School.

Every high school senior can't wait to get their hands on their cap and gown.

â??Iâ??m excited cause Iâ??m ready for the day. Ready to walk across the stage and get my diploma,â?? says Raeonna Barabino, a senior.

But this academic regalia holds a special meaning for Buena Vista seniors.

â??I think they was (sic) going to throw in the towel and just give up for the rest of the year,â?? says Caldwell.

Just a week ago, senior prom and graduation were in limbo after the district laid off all teachers and shut its doors amid a financial crisis.

â??I didn't think it was going to happen but Iâ??m glad to see some type of progress,â?? says Barabino.

The breakthrough came Wednesday, the Michigan Department of Education releasing previously frozen state aid, allowing the district to finish the school year.

â??I think it's nice that we get to come back and say goodbye, do whatever we need to do,â?? says Barabino.

â??Weâ??ve all been going through the stages of grief. The shocker, the disbelief of what's happening to our district,â?? says Jeanine Belton, a senior at the high school.

Now the feeling is joy as teachers prepare to welcome back their students and graduating seniors get some closure.

â??Iâ??m just going to say goodbye and all that good stuff,â?? says Barabino. â??Walk the halls for the last time,â?? she adds.

â??I really appreciated everything that happened because I got my cap and gown and that's all I wanted,â?? says Caldwell.