It could have been a scene from old-time revival or basketball fans firing up.
At Tuesday night's Gaston County Board of Education meeting, folks yelled and stomped and clapped their hands - an outpouring of approval over the board's decision not to close three neighborhood schools to save money and improve efficiency.
Applause rang out in the Gaston College Myers Center, where more than 100 parents and children had waited for a decision.
Some cried and hugged each other.
"Thank you, Lord," Keyonia Barnette, 32, yelled as she stood up and waved her arms.
With two children at Rhyne Elementary School, Barnette said, she was "terrified" when she came to the meeting - afraid the school her kids loved would shut its doors for good.
"Now I'm joyous," she said. "I'm so happy."
When time came to vote on the proposed closings, each issue died for lack of a motion.
Last year, the Gaston school district - the ninth-largest in North Carolina - hired the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute to do an in-depth study of school buildings. Officials said the goal was to look at ways to cut costs, increase operating effectiveness to save money and be more efficient.
The urban institute recommended closing York Chester Middle and Rhyne Elementary in Gastonia and McAdenville Elementary.
Rhyne is at 50 percent of capacity, McAdenville at 55 percent of capacity, and York Chester at 62 percent. All three buildings are among the oldest in the district.
The study found closing the schools would save the district about $900,000 a year and $25 million to $27 million over the next five to seven years.
Tuesday's decision followed a series of 13 community meetings on the issue that began Dec. 7. At those all-day sessions, school staff explained the proposal, which included attendance line changes. On Jan. 10, board members along with staff were present at a public hearing. Later that week, board members toured the three schools.
Board Chairman Mark Upchurch said Tuesday that board members had studied the public input along with the Urban Institute's report.
"It's a very difficult decision," he said. "Popular or unpopular, it must be made in the best interest of the children."
The board unanimously approved two attendance line changes. But one by one, when nobody made motions to close the schools, the audience roared its approval.
"The schools will not close," Upchurch said, making it official.