Bolivar school ready to re-open

February 3, 2009 8:54:25 PM PST
Through piles of debris and destroyed buildings, the people of Bolivar said while progress seemed distant they always had hope.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

"It just shows a lot about the community and the spirit. It's like, we're not gone," said mother Tessa Tedder.

Almost five months later, it has become much more visible for Tedder. The school represents a huge step in the road to recovery.

Her daughter Lacey Tedder has been going to school in east Chambers, but she'll be back with old friends and familiar faces at Crenshaw Elementary.

"This involves bringing our community back. This isn't just about a school," said Tedder.

Kindergarten teacher Elouise Carpenter makes her final preparations for the big day.

"We've been really working to get to this point. It's been very hard not to be here," said Carpenter.

She's ready to welcome back students as 63 of them are expected from Pre-K to the eighth grade.

"It's already an emotional day, we've worked and hoped and prayed they would let us open our school and now it's happening," said Carpenter.

While the landscape outside has really changed, the school had very little damage from Ike, but there was some clean up involved. Principal Bill Heuman worried about the students.

"Our students were very displaced all over the country. In fact we had some go as far as Alaska," said Heuman.

They've had to do some shuffling around with classrooms as firefighters and EMS are using part of the school, but Wednesday marks a huge milestone for this community.

"It gives them hope there is a recovery process. Without a school for their children many families are reluctant to move back," said Heuman.

For the families that have moved back, they said this is what will help bring Bolivar back to life.

"I can imagine there's going to be a lot of tears," said Tedder.

The staff will continue to face challenges. A boiled water alert is still in effect for the area, so the school has hundreds of cases of bottled water on hand for the students.

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