East St. John High regains some of normal routine

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 16, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

RESERVE – Some students at East St. John High School got to see their friends in a school setting Monday for the first time since Hurricane Isaac struck in August.
The students of East St. John High resumed their regular school schedule this week, and while both teachers and students expressed happiness at being together again, there was no time for tearful reunions beause the standard first-day-of-school bedlam.
“I’m glad to have all of the students back together. It brings some normalcy to the school year,” said business education teacher Billie Duncan. “After the first week I think everyone will get their routine down. The kids will know where the classes are. It’s going to get better — it’s first day.”
Rickey Watson, 17, began the school day with announcements over the front office’s intercom system. The students were also treated to a rousing rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” sung by Taja Henry, 17.
The students were moved to a temporary campus at Leon Godchaux Junior High after Isaac flooded their home campus, but because the Godchaux campus could only hold half of the student population at a time, the St. John the Baptist Parish School Board implemented a platoon schedule, allowing some students to attend classes from 7 a.m. until noon and others from noon until 5 p.m.
Portable buildings and extra parking spaces were built on the Godchaux campus during the school’s winter break to contain the overflow of students and teachers.
Renovations at the old East St. John High campus are set to be completed over the summer in time for a fall return.  
 “It feels different going from 7 until noon to going [to school] the whole day,” said Ashanti Macy, 17.
Macy said her family lost everything in the storm but is thankful that they were able to move back into their home a week before Thanksgiving.
Another student said she was “tired and sleepy” but would get used to it soon enough.
“I miss getting out of class in 50 minutes. Now it’s an hour and a half,” said Alexis Stipe, 16.
“It’s exciting because we’re all on one shift. Whenever we were spread out it’s so much harder to touch bases with all the students and all the teachers,” said Principal Patricia Triche.
As for the students’ confusion about the new scheduling, Triche says it’s just a part of adjusting.  
“The thing is you give kids a schedule at first block and some of them will lose it at third block. We gave schedules out on Friday to all students with a map of the school,” said Triche.  
“With all the new portables and new places to go, a lot of times it’s hard for them to find [their classroom], so it’s a matter of them trying to find out where they belong. Regular stuff, in other words,” Triche said, smiling at the thought.