IT’S business as usual at the Holy Spirit Primary School school despite a fire gutting its year 1 classrooms on October 21.
‘‘Life goes on and everything is back to normal,’’ said principal Sister Brenda Kennedy.
‘‘We’re taking it one day at a time and we’re planning for the children.’’
It’s believed an electrical fault caused the fire in the Emerton building which also destroyed the school’s internet hub and phone connections.
It was a long drive to the school for Sister Kennedy after she got the call that Sunday.
‘‘I didn’t know what I was going to face,’’ she said.
‘‘It was a shock to see the damage.Words can’t describe the devastation I felt.
‘‘It was one of the first buildings at the school, including our first library and assembly hall, so there was an emotional attachment.
‘‘I’m grateful no one was hurt and it was on a Sunday when no pupils were around.’’
The school was closed the next day while staff transformed the multi-purpose hall into a classroom for 51 year 1 pupils, where they will spend the rest of the term.
They will spend early next year in temporary demountables while a new building is built on the old site which has since been cleared.
New pencil cases were also bought for the pupils who had lost everything in the fire.
‘‘There was a mixture of sadness and excitement,’’ Sister Kennedy said.
‘‘The kids were sad their work and personal belongings were gone but they were excited about their new classroom and pencil cases.
‘‘They saw the old classrooms being demolished and they put flowers at the site as part of the healing process. I don’t believe in shielding children from anything. It’s better for them to see what happened than wonder.’’
The school reopened two days after the fire.
‘‘We had a big assembly when we told pupils what happened and what we saw,’’ she said.
‘‘The sense of community from the staff and parents was wonderful.
‘‘We’ve had offers of help from everyone—flowers, food, gifts for the kids. I also had a call from Emerton Public School asking if they can help in any way.’’