Some were alumni who drove in from other states for the occasion.

Some were local residents.

Some were city officials.

They all gathered at Groveport Madison High School May 19 to take one last walk down the halls -- and down memory lane -- during what was billed as a closing ceremony for the school, built in 1970. It will be torn down this summer as the district prepares to open a new high school next door.

Before the two hours allotted for the walk-through, school and city officials spoke in the gym about the history of the school.

"As a proud 1975 graduate of this high school, a lifelong resident of the area and a diehard Cruiser, this is most certainly a bittersweet moment for me," Groveport Mayor Lance Westcamp said.

"As we all must plan for the future, we also need to remember and honor the past."

Westcamp mentioned that the current building, which students attended while the new building is under construction, has served as the high school "longer than any other building in the district's history" and has turned out more than 15,000 graduates.

"Now, immediately behind this building, the district's newest high school -- our sixth -- has risen to take its place in history," he said. "Like its predecessors, it, too, has been designed using the most up-to-date design philosophy and incorporates many unique and innovative elements.

"May the new Groveport Madison High School serve our students and the Cruiser community as long and as well as this fine building has served us.

"This building is like a Cruiser: It may be gone, but it will never be forgotten," Westcamp said.

The U.S. flag that has flown over the high school was retired and a new flag was presented to high school Principal Jaivir Singh.

"The new flag will proudly fly over the new Groveport Madison High School, just as the previous flag flew over this building," interim Superintendent John Hurd said. "It will symbolize to our community the traits we want to instill in our students."

After the flag ceremony, the high school pep band and alumni band revved up the crowd with a rendition of the school's fight song.

Alumni then toured the building and signed a cafeteria wall with their names and the year they graduated.

Jerry Dye, who graduated in 1976, drove from Springfield to attend the closing ceremony.

"This is the first time in 42 years that I have been in this building," he said. "It's memories and good times."

Dye said he had mixed feelings about closing his high school but was philosophical.

"It's the way life is, and it's got to happen," he said.

One of the most spirited groups attending the ceremony was made up of members of the class of 1973. Joyce Poling held a "class of 1973" sign during the event and recalled that her class was only the third to graduate from the high school.

"There's a lot of history for a lot of us," she said. "The older we get, the more nostalgic we get."

Her classmate, Debbie Kent, drove from Pittsburgh to attend the closing ceremony and the alumni banquet that evening.

"We stayed a close-knit class," Kent said. "I have all my pictures from grade school."

Mark Veltre, class of 1988, who recently moved to Lithopolis, signed the cafeteria wall after the ceremony, along with his daughter, Heather, class of 2016.

"It's home. It's a lot of history," Veltre said. "There's a lot of good memories here -- good friends and, like the mayor said, I bleed red and black.

"I am just really glad for the community and really glad for the new high school, but this is my school and it's great to be a Cruiser," Veltre said.

Before the community left the ceremony, Hurd invited everyone to come back at 7 p.m. Aug. 29, for the dedication of the new high school.

"I think you will have a great time and be proud of the investment you made to support our students," he said.