First day of classes in Livonia after massive fire
Posted at: 09/05/2012 4:33 AM
| Updated at: 09/05/2012 3:48 PM
By: Christine VanTimmeren | WHEC.com
It was back to school for many districts and no doubt first day jitters were in the air. Students at Livonia Elementary School may have had a few more jitters than normal this year. That’s because fourth and fifth graders are starting their school year in a different building after fire destroyed their classrooms over the summer.
Fourth of July week, construction crews were replacing the roof at the school when a generator caught fire and exploded. Sixteen classrooms, all belonging to fourth and fifth grades, were destroyed. Construction has been ongoing all summer long, but the wing is not quite ready for students yet. Those students were taken to an old school building around the corner where they’ll stay until their classrooms are ready.
Back to school, but not quite back to normal for fourth and fifth graders and teachers at Livonia Elementary School.
Jaime Hochheimer, 5th grade teacher, said, “I will never forget this. I don't know how it could.”
While teachers like Jamie Hochheimer will be all smiles for their students in the back of their minds they can’t forget what they lost.
Hochheimer said, “That’s what’s upsetting to me is that all those materials are gone.”
Matt Cole, Livonia Elementary Principal, said, “I'm not one for tears either, but a few moments it hit me too.”
Livonia Elementary Principal Matt Cole took News10NBC through the fourth and fifth grade wing destroyed by fire and water over the summer.
Cole said, “Just walking through there, it is tough to see. I don’t see that everyday.”
Thirteen years of Jaime’s lesson plans, bulletin boards and memories, gone.
Hochheimer said, “I had a box of gifts from the kids and letters and the letters were so precious to me and I had them all in a box under my desk from years and years of teaching and those types of things that I’ll never be able to get back is what is most upsetting.”
But a few days ago, a diamond in the rough, something made it through the fire and water.
Hochheimer said, “This is the box that was salvaged in the fire and it has great sentimental value to me. It was my grandfather’s and it just came back to me a few days ago and when I received it, I was overjoyed.”
One token, she now holds so dear. It’s the little things that helps Jaime move on and it’s her students that will keep her moving forward.
Hochheimer said, “I started all over again. The principal gave me good advice he said I’d have to come to school and teach with all my heart, and that's what I’ll do again.”
Principal Matt Cole said they hope to have students back into the elementary school building by mid-November. Their classrooms will have brand new state of the art technology, lockers, desks and new books.
Wednesday also marked the first day of classes for Rochester City School District, Spencerport, Hilton, West Irondequoit, East Irondequoit, Churchville-Chili, Gates Chili, Fairport, East Rochester and Webster.