HOUSTON, Texas - Katy ISD's newest school, Patricia E. Paetow High, took center stage for ABC13's Friday Flyover.
The school opened just weeks ago with only freshman and sophomore students.
"It was very welcoming. Everyone was here for you," said freshman Natasha Monroe.
At the start of the school year, administrators had a team-building program to get the incoming classes to feel at home. It's there some of the students realized they were once rivals at their former schools.
"We didn't like the Katy kids. My friend went to Katy. We didn't like each other, now we are on the same football team and we are doing pretty good," said Sebastian Hines.
Now that their rivalries are squashed, they have found a way to unite as one Panther family.
Some students shared their struggles and loss during Hurricane Harvey.
"It was scary. It was really scary. Mostly cause you don't know what is going to happen next," said Monroe whose home was flooded.
"A lot of homes destroyed, a lot of things lost. But when we came to school, all of that was gone. It was erased," said Monroe. "Going to school was the happier part of my day."
That's a realization the school's newest student hasn't made just yet. Alberto Colon is a Hurricane Maria survivor. His family escaped from Puerto Rico and now live in Katy.
Colon said his home and school were severely damaged by Maria, sustaining several inches of water.
"It was a disaster. The school's roof flew away," said Colon.
He and his two younger siblings are now living in Katy. Colon took a tour of the new school where he got to see the Katy ISD's newest school design, which features open learning spaces, three stories of classrooms, and some of the best technology in the state. The students are ready to welcome him in, especially those who understand his loss.
"Everyone is different. We are going to welcome you in with open arms, and just say, 'We've got you," said Monroe.
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