Only Surviving School Reopens In Pass - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

10/10/05

Only Surviving School Reopens In Pass

A group of youngsters peered inside newly-installed portable classrooms as their teacher explained, "We'll go see the next set of trailers and I'll tell you what grades are there."

The tour of the Delisle Elementary campus introduces the children to their new surroundings. The first day of school in the Pass is filled with new experiences.

There are also some new faces. One of them is Sean Peneguy. The 4th grader was displaced from the Bay-Waveland School District, and is now a new student in Pass Christian.

"It's really exciting, because you get to meet more people. I was a little nervous," Sean Peneguy said.

The children at Delisle are also sharing classrooms with more than 200-students and teachers from Pass Elementary, which was gutted by Katrina.

"Our world is so turned upside down right now, and we're all in that survival mode," teacher Martha Stephens said.

To help the students adjust, the teachers are encouraging them to share their survival stories. Stephens started by telling her students, "My house got flooded. So when I came home, I didn't have a house to come back to. I was really sad about that."

"We had to get in the attic and bust out the roof, 'cause the water's up the roof, and it was my sister's birthday," Sean said.

"I was scared, and we had to wade through the water and it was nasty," ten-year-old Conner Patridge said.

Katrina rudely interrupted their school year, but the students and teachers are glad to hit the books again.

"I was trying not to think about the storm, so I was kind of happy. It gets my mind off all that," Conner said.

"Wonderful! The babies, everyone has come and hugged. The teachers have hugged and to finally get to this day. Five weeks, and to be here, is glorious," Stephens said.

And the storm won't destroy the children's pride in the Pass Christian School District.

"Just wait until we come back. We're going to be bigger and better than ever," one girl said.

"You got it girlfriend," Stephens responded as the entire class clapped and cheered.

Only elementary students returned to school in the Pass Monday. The Middle School and High School students will go back to class next Monday.

By: Trang Pham-Bui

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