Tuckerman Students Back in Class - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Tuckerman -- Heather Flanigan Reports

Tuckerman Students Back in Class

March 29, 2004 -- Posted at 5:15 p.m. CST

TUCKERMAN -- It may sound crazy, but students were actually eager to get back to school today in one Region 8 town.

Last week, lightening caused the Tuckerman school to catch fire, forcing students to take an extended vacation, but classes resumed today.

It may look like students at the Tuckerman school are ready for a break...but today is actually their first day back in the classroom in over two weeks. The students have been out of class since a fire damaged part of the elementary school last Monday morning.

Superintendent Chester Shannon said,"We've had an engineer go through our elementary school and tell us what parts are safe and what parts are not safe, where we need to be, so we've taken care of that."

The fire, caused by lightening, damaged five classrooms, part of the library and the school's cafeteria.

Kindergartners and first graders won't be returning back to these classrooms, instead they'll finish out the school year in temporary, portable classrooms that the school district is bringing in. But it's a big change for some of the smaller students...

"It's hard for their routines, where they go to recess at, how they get to the cafeteria, the way they go to music, all that's been changed because part of the hallway's been shut down now...so it's a lot of change," said Shannon.

Students were supposed to start taking their benchmark exams this week, but superintendent Shannon hopes to delay the tests.

"We've been out two weeks and a day, and so we're assessing the State Department's willing to work with us," said Shannon, "We're going to see how our kids behave today after being out...either look for a waiver to maybe test next week instead of this week. We're just playing it by ear."

But there were some students who actually welcomed the chance to come back to class.

High school student Tara Geaslin said, "I was really ready to come back because I got tired of being at home."

Brett Ivy is a Tuckerman Junior and said it was hard to believe that the school had burned.

"When we first had our spring break it was great. I did all my homework on the last night before spring break, that Sunday night. I got up the next morning, everything was taped off, everyone was kind of worried about the school," said Ivy.

"It's been kind of boring and kind of fun because we got another break out and we got to spend our fun and everything with our family and friends and everything, so it's been okay," said Danielle Wright, a Tuckerman 7th grader.

Junior Russell Toddy said, "Well, you know, we got a bunch of relaxation for two weeks, got a longer spring break than everyone else."

So far, school officials are not able to estimate how much the damage will cost, but they do say they hope to have the building repaired over the summer.

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