School in Menlo Park reopens after fire

September 17, 2012 12:00:23 PM PDT
Students are back in class for the first time since fire tore through a Peninsula school last week.

Beechwood is a private school it serves students who live in a low-performing public school district. It is truly a close-knit community and it's the support from those within this school community that made today's re-opening possible.

"Well, you know, when we were standing here Thursday morning, while the fire was burning, that was the goal we set, you know, was to get school back open on Monday morning," said Beechwood School Principal David Laurance.

Laurance is one of many who is ecstatic for this first day back in class after Thursday's early-morning fire that torched a mobile building housing the third grade classroom and administrative offices.

"We lost all the emergency cards and registration information for the children, so we're hoping that families will be able to stop by and give us contact information," said California Family Foundation Melinda Christopherson.

The private school relies on donations which have poured in since the fire. Volunteer support from parents keeps this close-knit community thriving. Dozens of parents spent all Saturday cleaning up the campus.

"Actually, I was supposed to be at a coastal clean-up on Saturday at my daughter's school, she's in high school, but Beechwood came first," said Parent Valerie Kirkendoll.

After two days away from class, even students are energized to be back.

"I feel excited because, like, we missed a lot of days of school, but I'm just happy to be back and everybody was okay, Beechwood is like a second family," said student Makayla.

The building that burned in the fire was a mobile building. Principal Laurance said the school was set to build more permanent structures within the next year. He said that the fire actually gives them momentum to make sure that new campus is built here. They're looking at the bright side following a very dark weekend.

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