Waukesha's Whittier Elementary celebrates before Hadfield merger

Whittier Elementary in Waukesha held its final celebration Saturday before its upcoming merger with Hadfield Elementary in the fall.

As one chapter closes, another one opens. After 67 years, Whittier Elementary is turning the page.

"We are celebrating the last days and months of Whittier Waukesha," said fourth grader Michael Washington.

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Because of low enrollment and a budget shortfall, Whittier and Hadfield will become one in the fall. Two hundred students from Whittier will be joining those at Hadfield. Both principals will oversee the school together.

"There are so many emotions here, from sadness to excitement," Whittier Principal Brandy Hart said. "There is so much love in the hallways here."

Whittier Elementary School in Waukesha

"I think it will be good for students and teachers because they get to meet new people, and it will be a bigger school," said sixth grader Samantha Appleton.

Jenny Lamack found herself flipping through 67 years of fond memories.

"I went here, and my son went here, and I had really good memories," she said. "Whitter will forever be in my heart."

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And you can't forget the lessons learned, and the bonds forever formed.

"From a lot of my teachers, they just always say like be yourself and don’t take the wrong advice," said Appleton.

"Never judge a book by its cover," fourth grader Aiden Lesser-Lee said.

Whittier Elementary School in Waukesha

New beginnings may be ahead, but staff members said their motto – "Thinking Makes Us Whittier" – will never fade.

"It's just a name," said Hart. "We are still the Whittier family wherever we are and whatever building."

The Whittier Wildcat and the Hadfield Husky will be retiring after this school year, too, but kids will have the opportunity to create a new mascot and new colors.