Four months after Hurricane Sandy hit, a local school that suffered extensive damage is finally back in session. It took hundreds of thousands of dollars and a ton of hard work, but students say they're finally home. Wednesday, Governor Christie made a very special visit to see all the work that's been done.
"You happy to be back in your school," asked. "Yes," replied a chorus of Kindergartners.
It was a day of questions…"Is it hard being the governor?" asked on little girl, "Sometimes it's hard being the governor." …and answers for Governor Chris Christie in Stone Harbor Wednesday.
In a freshly renovated classroom that just months ago was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, the governor welcomed back students who for the past four months, were without a school of their own. "I kinda missed my school," said fourth grader Sebastian Tobias.
"They look really happy to be back," said Christie, "and I'm happy for them." The nearly 80 students in the K-4th grade school attended the nearby Avalon school while extensive repairs were completed.
"Floors had to come out, walls had to come out, this whole gym floor had to come out, it was devastated," said Stacey LaRocca Tracy, Superintendent of Stone Harbor and Avalon Schools, "We were kind of surprised so much damage had taken place."
$25 million in damage was done to schools across the state during the storm, and this is the first of the schools extensively damaged to re-open their doors to students, seven more remained closed. "We are on schedule for those seven schools that are not yet open to have all of them reopen no later than September of this coming year," said Christie.
It took more than half a million dollars and the community coming together to get this school up and running again. "I commend the school district and all the families in this town for all the effort they put in," said the governor.
"It looks amazing," said 4th grader, Nynoshka Vazquez, "It's really good to be home."
Proving to students and staff that through teamwork and support, they cannot only survive, but thrive. "The old saying that ‘what doesn't kill you makes you stronger,' we'll we're stronger today here at Stone Harbor because of all this," said Dr. Renee Murtaugh, Supervisor of Curriculum.