It was a bittersweet celebration for the parents, teachers and students at Lakeview Elementary, who hosted an open house one last time before it closes Friday. Students danced and raced around in front of their parents and friends outside after a barbecue.
But behind the students' smiles and giggles over burgers and cake, parents and teachers were still seething about the Oakland Unified School District's decision to close Lakeview, Santa Fe, Marshall and Maxwell Park elementary schools.
"To shut this school down is a real shame," said Pamela Chinn-Scoffern, a first grade teacher who's been at Lakeview for 25 of the 27 years she's been teaching. "The kids are actually a little traumatized, and they have been for quite some time. They're really upset that the school is going to close and that they're going to not be seeing most of their friends next year."
Chinn-Scoffern has been one of the main teachers fighting for the school's survival and called herself "disillusioned" when told of the district's decision to turn the building into administrative offices.
Lazear Elementary, which was also slated for closure, will be converted into a charter school after the Alameda County Office of Education voted Thursday to reverse the decision made by the Oakland school board.
Lakeview, which opened in 1914, is hoping to force its own decision reversal with a sit-in at the school Friday afternoon.
However, there was little optimism for the school's outcome. Adults at the open house were visibly upset, but they worked toward maintaining an upbeat atmosphere for the kids, who were enjoying their final days with friends before the summer.
"I think what I wanted the most for this school year was that the children had the same way of life," said Principal Clara Roberts. "We wanted them to be happy, engaged in learning, and we wanted families to feel the same way."
The open house was meant to give the students stability before splitting up for the next school year.
"This is the end," said Daaimah Waquia Fowler, whose son and daughter attend Lakeview. "We have one last opportunity to be a family out in the yard with everybody and just kind of take in the last bit of Lakeview."
Many parents, including Waquia Fowler, are hoping to send their kids to Burckhalter Elementary, which has a prior relationship with Lakeview.
"That's why we chose that school -- to go on with a new family but taking most of the family with us," Waquia Fowler said. "We're not going to be taking up too much time with the difficulties of the situation. We're going to look at all the positives with it and make sure we stay together as a family at this point."