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EAST ROCKAWAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – East Rockaway Junior-Senior High School on Long Island is welcoming back students for the first time since Sandy hit last year.
The school was flooded with five feet of water and suffered $10 million in damage from the Oct. 29 storm, but now the 1,300 students are back in a renovated building.
“It’s an incredible day,” superintendent Roseanne Melucci said. “The students have really put up with a lot and they’ve gone through a lot.
For six months, students had to wake up early to attend classes at two Baldwin schools which were rented by East Rockaway.
Now, students are back on home turf with “Rock The Return” proudly written across their T-shirts.
“I’m so happy to be back,” ninth-grader Nick Ippolito said. “The commute going from here to Baldwin was terrible, getting up early was horrible, but now we’re back here.”
“It’s just really exciting to know that we’re home,” eighth grader Conor Irvine said.
Teachers and administrators welcomed back students and praised them for their patience and resilience over the past few months.
“We live our lives one day at a time, and you have just finished 103 very difficult days, some of you are still living very difficult days,” said teacher John Bishop, who is retiring when the school year ends in a month. “Use these days, celebrate these days. Carpe diem.”
“To me, that has to be the most important way to measure your worth as a human being is what you do in the face of adversity and what you do in the face of challenge,” principal Joseph Spero said. “You all have aced that test, so I want to thank you for that.”
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