Parents and community members gathered at the school that evening, to give their feedback to the South Shore Regional School Board. Not a single person said they thought the school should close.
In 2012, Mill Village was identified for the school review process, along with five other schools in Lunenburg County. A later report pointed out parts of the school that needed to be updated, renovated or changed for the school to continue. Another option is to close the school and move the children to Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy in Liverpool.
The School Advisory Committee submitted their own report in response, identifying solutions to part of the report and taking issue with other parts.
On that evening though, it was one more chance for the community to tell the school board why they thought the school should stay open. Many former students and parents of students shared stories about why the school is important to them.
Amanda Conrad fought back tears when she spoke, talking about how much the school has done for her and her children. She and her husband live outside the catchment area of the school, however they wanted their children to go to Mill Village.
"I did not want them to be on a bus for 45 minutes. I wanted them to have the same love and respect and care that I'd want," she said.
She was not disappointed with the results.
In the Deloitte Report, it was stated that closure of the school would add a maximum of about 15 minutes to bussing times, bringing the total time on a bus to just about an hour. However when the study committee asked for a bussing schedule that shows this, they were told none existed.
The committee argued without more detailed information, the 15-minute maximum not accurate.
When the SSRSB transportation committee and SAC timed the ride from the school to the Wickwire, on dry roads, no traffic and just after noon found to be over 16 minutes.
Kendell Farmer went to the school, and when he settled with his own family he wanted to live in the district where his children went to the school.
"It's the personal touch, the teachers knowing you by your first name," he said about why he made that decision.
He also said the small school was important for the community because it helps it grow. The school attracts young families looking for those small schools, which in turn makes the community strong and in brings volunteers.
Farmer is also the chief of the Port Medway Fire Association, and goes to the school to teach the children fire safety. He remembers when the fire department came to the school when he was a student, and said it inspired him to get involved with the department. Farmer said he worries if the school is closed there won't be as many students interested in joining the department as they get older.
Dottie Hatt has fought to keep the school open for the past 24 years when her own children attended, and now stays involved with the school through volunteering. She, like many others, wanted the school board to stop reviewing the school.
"I just feel you would rip the heart out of our community if you took this school," she said.
Mayor Christopher Clarke spoke that evening as well, encouraging the school to go beyond the money factor.
"You can work towards the average, but every now and then you come across islands of excellence," he said. "If this is really excellence, and I think it is, find a way to preserve it."
Katherine Croft said they found development difficulties in her son early on when her family lived in Truro. They moved to Mill Village to be closer to her husband Jason's family, but also a major part of the decision was because of the school. She said her son got the help he needed and is thriving in the environment.
"I wonder if I was still in Truro, would we have gotten that? I don't think we would."
The school board's final decision will come on March 26.
Both The Deloitte Report and the Mill Village Study Committee Report are available online at www.ssrsb.ca