West School Reopened With 'Wizard Of Oz' Theme

LONG BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – It’s the first day of school and a homecoming of sorts for students and teachers at West Elementary School in Long Beach, Long Island.

Monday marks the first day of classes there since superstorm Sandy hit.

As WCBS 880’s Sean Adams reported, the ocean and the bay met and flooded out the school.

“It’s been a long haul getting us back into school in long beach and we’re very excited that West School is open and we’re ready for kindergarten,” mother Nicole Ciciari told Adams.

“I am ecstatic today and I’m fighting back tears. My children are thrilled to go home,” another parent told Adams.

The school reopened with a “Wizard Of Oz” theme Monday. All the teachers and staff are wearing ruby-red slippers. There was also a yellow brick road painted onto the sidewalk and a rainbow of balloons over the entrance to reinforce the message that there’s no place like home, Adams reported.

Teachers said the past 11 months were tough but they’re happy to get back to normal with the new school year.

“I missed my classroom, I missed just being with my West School family and it was a tough year but we did it,” first grade teacher Nicole McGann told Adams. “It was a tough year but kids are resilient and the families were great and the teachers were great and we all stuck together, we pulled through together.”

The school has about 350 kindergarten through fifth grade students.

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