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Riverside Academy sustains significant damage; Support needed to replenish classroom supplies, clean campus

RESERVE — Riverside Academy’s school buildings and athletic facilities sustained considerable damage from Hurricane Ida, and it will take the support of the community to ensure students have a smooth transition back to the classroom once conditions allow.

Principal Holly Haase estimates that 60 to 70% of classrooms were damaged during the storm. Roof damage resulting from 100mph winds can be seen on all school buildings. The middle school building fared the worst and is missing part of its roof, according to Haase. Water damage was also observed within classrooms.

This week was supposed to be the start of the 2021 prep football season, but instead of screaming fans, the Rebels’ football stadium now has a fallen press box and a severely damaged concession stand. Sponsored signs were lost in the wind, and a brand new fence around the baseball field has toppled over. Structural damage was observed in the dugouts, not far from where a set of bleachers was thrown into baseball field’s net.

Haase said Riverside Academy will work closely with FEMA and local officials to figure out classroom accommodations for students. While the goal is to return children to the classroom, a reopening date has not been set. Water services are just beginning to return, and more than 18,600 Entergy customers remain without power in St. John the Baptist Parish.

Haase said small actions make a big difference during a time of crisis.

“We’re asking the community to support our teachers. They lost personal items and things they’ve purchased on their own to furnish their classrooms, as well as school supplies. Those are the things we need the community’s help with. It would be a great help if there are any schools or outside areas that would be willing to donate to our school,” Haase said. “We are a private school, so we’re not going to have funding from a School Board like a public school would. It will take us a while to rebuild, but we are putting together a plan to get the students back on campus with the help of federal, state and local officials.”

Haase is planning organized work days where community members can come to campus and assist with clean-up efforts. More details will be shared as they become available.

To donate, please email hhaase@riversideacademy.com.