CHICO (CBS13) – How do you spell success at Paradise High School? You reunite teachers and students in one school while you wait for the fire-ravaged town to recover.
It was an emotional return to class for more than 600 Paradise High families.
“My heart is full today,” said Gustavo Dibenedetto as he wiped back tears. “It’s very excellent, this building.”
Dibenedetto was as excited as the students when he brought his two teens to school.
The school is inside a former Facebook operations center near the Chico airport. Inspirational posters line the walls – another example of how happy teachers and staff are to have their students back.
The principal’s secretary, Debbie Sharrett, said Paradise
“This is pretty exciting, unconventional,” said Debbie Sharrett, the principal’s secretary. “But we are strong and rising up.”
Sophomore Victor BrownMiller has been staying with his grandparents since the Camp Fire. He briefly attended Paradise’s makeshift classroom inside the Chico mall, but is glad to have all his classmates classrooms, a cafeteria under one roof.
“I have seen this community come together a lot, and seeing how we work together has been a good thing to see,” BrownMiller said. “Just having friendship can take you a long way and being around people.”
English teacher Jori Krulder gave us a brief tour of the campus – including her rolling library.
“You are looking at multiple classrooms; this is the bottom floor of our facility,” Krulder said. “I am downstairs half the day and upstairs half the day, so this way they can have books.”
The temporary campus will provide much-needed structure and support for students and staff alike.
The school that once had 1000 students now has just over 600 spread over 125 miles – with 93 percent of students having had their homes destroyed by the Camp Fire.
“This has been a challenge to see us all scattered,” said Michelle John, the Paradise Schools Superintendent.
Her goal: returning to main campus for graduation.
“I am determined that’s what is going to happen,” said John.