Local Schools Enroll Students Displaced By Katrina

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

Young evacuees from Hurricane Katrina are getting some hard lessons in adjustment.

"He was just getting excited about his new school and going in and settling in only to have it yanked away from him," said Randy Rink, Hurricane Katrina evacuee.

Schools all over the country are hastily enrolling displaced students. The Rink family relocated to Bryan after Katrina tore through their New Orleans neighborhood and they don't know when, if ever, they will return home. However, returning to school is important and offers a new sense of stability.

"They've been through a lot of things already and putting them back in school and getting them regimented with their day meant a lot to them, they were ready to go back to school believe it or not," said Rink.

Bryan, College Station and local private schools are enrolling students displaced by the hurricane. Right now schools are working extra hard to ensure the new students are acclimated and have proper mental and academic support.

"Do they need help in one certain area, is it a math problem or is it a personal or are they just struggling with a new environment; We’re just trying to stay on top, one student at a time," said Michael Coulter, President, St. Joseph Education System.

St. Joseph's and Bryan ISD have implemented buddy programs to help visiting students adjust to the changes.

"They are using those children to buddy up with a child that's a hurricane evacuee and show them around the school and take them to lunch and other activities after school," said Sara Williams, Bryan ISD.

As for the crash course in adjustment, Rink says he is pleased with the efforts of the school and he appreciates the support that has been offered to his children.

"I think they are prepared for the challenge, I think they'd be happy to fit in," said Rink.


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