Cameron students return to campus after hurricane - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Cameron students return to campus after hurricane

August 20, 2006
Reported by Pam Dixon

Johnson Bayou High School is full of energy and students again. Principal Gene Reynolds says. "Now we feel like we're home and we're coming back and we can see the progress in front of us."

While the school still sits empty and battered after Hurricane Rita, 140 students now fill the rows of portable classrooms behind the school. Teacher Juanita Sandifer says, "I think being here also gives them a sense of hope too that we've made the first step in getting back into our own school and that is getting back on our own property."

Students attend class in the midst of the all the repair work. This is the first time since Hurricane Rita these students have returned to their home campus. Senior Shalyn Broussard says, "We grew up here. It's home."

These Cameron Parish students and teachers still endure many inconveniences. The gym is still damaged so P.E. Is held under an outdoor pavilion. Make shift classrooms still need to be set up in portable buildings that arrived the same day school started. The cafeteria is the only part of the school back on line and in use. But none of that is important to those who want to be here in Johnson Bayou where their hearts are...

Senior Blaine Trahan says, "Play that first game in that new gym again and be just like a whole new school."

And where their homes will one day be rebuilt.

Reynolds says, "We'll survive. People down here in Johnson Bayou are real strong folks and real proud of their community and this school is the focal point of the community. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel."

Johnson Bayou was one of four of Cameron's six schools destroyed or damaged from the hurricane and flood waters. The school is expected to be repaired and ready for use by next school year. Students have also returned to the South Cameron High campus after spending the last school year at Grand Lake High. Cameron Elementary and South Cameron Elementary students have also switched to the South Cameron High campus.

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