Students displaced by Fiona learn lessons of cooperation and resilience

Students from Cardigan Consolidated School are bused to Montague Regional High School, where they have their own learning space. (Kirk Pennell/CBC – image credit)

All of Prince Edward Island’s children are officially back in the classroom after post-tropical storm Fiona – and some are learning lessons not taught in textbooks.

The damage to École Évangéline and Cardigan Consolidated forced students to be resilient, to work together and to adapt to a new environment.

About 200 students from École Évangéline were installed on the grounds of the Festival acadien in Abram-Village,

About 100 students from Cardigan have moved into their own space at Montague Regional High School, about 12 kilometers down the road from their mainstream school.

Montague manager Robyn MacDonald said the first few days worked well.

“I think it’s really important for our students to see the importance of helping someone else whenever the chips are down or whenever we can do something to support other people in our community and I think in this case it was another school.”

Kirk Pennell/CBC

Kirk Pennell/CBC

École Évangéline suffered extensive damage from the storm, and teachers and staff had to get creative after about two weeks without classes. They transformed the local music center into a classroom for students in grades 7-9 and the ice rink into a classroom for students in grades 10-12.

“It was quite surprising what you can do with material like that and yeah, it looks like lessons. It’s impressive. The teachers have done a lot of work,” said director Dominique Morency.

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

School authorities estimate that it will take at least three months of work just to make the least damaged part of the building reusable.

The students don’t seem to care.

Submitted by Melissa DeJong

Submitted by Melissa DeJong

“It was really exciting because the whole school was transformed into a different place, so it was really interesting, it’s going to be a fun few months,” said Leah Arsenault, a 4th grader.

Morency said it was important to bring some normality back to students’ lives.

“When you wake up it’s like OK, what do I do? How’s it going to be? But we were really prepared, so I think the next thing is to go with the flow and take one thing at a time. “

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC

Sheehan Desjardins/CBC