Students return to class after Gustav

Allison B. Hudson
Students meet for first time since Hurricane Gustav for homeroom class.

Hurricane Gustav's ferocious winds damaged local schools, leaving all schools powerless for weeks. But now after being out of school for nine days, classes resumed on Monday. As of September 15, 2008, all schools in Donaldsonville have full electrical power. Unlike the past few weeks, students were able to get dressed for school and attend regular classes.

Ascension Parish school officials, say schools will be in session on Friday, September 19, 2008 which was previously scheduled as a student holiday, and plans for makeup days will be communicated at a later date.

"Students were ready to come back," says Mary Daze, ninth grade teacher at Donaldsonville High School.

School halls were filled with chatter and laughter as students greeted each other before the first bell for classes at 7:25 a.m., after having not seen each other for more than a week.

"I think it's going to be hard for us to catch up on work, but I don't think that we should be held accountable for something beyond our control. But I can only hope that things work out for the better," says Shirley Brown, a senior at Donaldsonville High School.

"I'm glad to be back and to see signs of normalcy returning," said Gwen Boudreaux, principal at Donaldsonville High. "Kids did a tremendous job, the first day back was nice and calm, attendance wasn't as good as usual, but not bad."

DHS suffered minor structural damage to one portable building, and there were a few vents that came off the roof, which allowed minimal water damage to ceiling tiles and some cracked tiles. A transformer was down, but is now repaired, and lots of trees fell over from neighbors' yards.

"I want to thank the custodians, National Guard, and all others who helped to assist in the clean-up efforts after Gustav," added Boudreaux.

Students were overjoyed to add how they felt about returning to the school they love.

"I love school, I am so glad to return. I missed being here and I missed being with my football team members, says Bryant Dunn, junior at Donaldsonville High School.

Another student expressed how grateful she was to return to her normal surroundings.

"You never know how much you miss something as little as being without power, until you don't have it." It was hard, I missed school, I missed everything, it was just miserable," said Oratia Price, a senior at Donaldsonville High.

With Hurricane season still underway, students and faculty hope that this is the worst they will see in a long time.

According to Boudreaux, classes will resume everyday in the month of September as regular scheduled school days. Because of Hurricane Gustav, a few events had to be rescheduled at a later date. Homecoming has been moved to October 17. Community Flag event has been moved to September 24, school pictures will resume as normal on September 24, and "Meet you at the Poles" will take place on September 24, at 7:15 a.m. "Second cup of Coffee," has been moved to September 26. PTO meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on September 30.