*This story was first published in January 2017. It was one of our most popular stories for the year.*
A school 15 minutes from Palmerston North's CBD was due to start the year with only one pupil enrolled.
Six-year-old Cruiz Strickett was enrolled as the only student at Linton Country School.
Relieving principal Gail Dobbin said there were 12 pupils at the school last year but many left to go to intermediate and other schools.
She says she was "gobsmacked" when she heard she was restarting the year with one student.
"Then I thought 'wow this could be really exciting.'"
However several days ago Gail Dobbin was approached by another family who wanted their 8-year-old daughter Indica Taylor-Collis to also attend Linton Country School.
"It's great that Cruiz has got a friend out there in the playground," says Ms Dobbin.
She says it'll be a healthy learning environment as they'll still be visiting other students at other schools.
"They will have one-to-one attention as far as their academic learning is concerned. I'll make it as fun for them because I like to have fun."
The Ministry of Education says rural schools are important and that in this case the community wanted to keep the school open.
With a number of pre-school children in the area principal Dobbin hopes school roll numbers will rise.
"It will grow in the next year or two, we're pretty confident of that."