RESERVE – An unexpectedly lengthy break from classes for students at East St. John High School came to an end Monday as the school returned to session at its temporary home at Leon Godchaux Junior High School.
The month-long hiatus came courtesy of Hurricane Isaac, which sent floodwaters into East St. John High’s main campus building on Airline Highway in Reserve, forcing students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades to attend classes on a platoon schedule at the smaller Leon Godchaux campus. The school’s ninth-grade students also returned Monday at East St. John High’s freshmen building, which had little damage.
Students attending morning shift classes mingled with others heading to the afternoon periods and shared hugs, handshakes and stories about extended holiday.
“We are just so happy to be back,” said junior Aareon Johnson. “Everyone is thankful that we had someplace to go. It is different, but we will manage it.”
Fellow junior Brittany Taylor said the new campus and new schedule is odd and will take some getting used to, but added that there are certain things that make the change feel like home, like principal Patricia Triche.
“Hearing Mrs. Triche directing us and giving out orders makes it feel like our school,” Taylor said. “We have some time to get used to everything.”
Most of the Godchaux campus was vacant, with portions being used for the school district’s alternative education programs. The school was put back into service when school officials realized the extensive repairs needed at the East St. John campus. Renovations are estimated to cost multiple millions and could take several months. The best-case scenario is to have classes resume at the school in January, but most working on the project believe it will be much later than that.
School officials said about 113 of the school’s 1,400 students were absent for the first day.