A new beginning for St Clair High

It's back to class at St Clair High School.

That's the message from principal Chris Presland as students return a fortnight after fire destroyed 30 classrooms and the library.

Staff spent the school holidays working around the clock to do everything possible to ensure the June 29 fire did not cause too much disruption at the start of term three.

Within 11 days, the site of the damaged building block was demolished and the sports field now hosts demountable classrooms.

"It's not the bricks and mortar that make a school — it's the community."

School vice captain Taylor Vaughan

The school captains and vice-captains have been pivotal, updating the school's Facebook page to keep fellow students and the community informed while juggling their own HSC studies.

HSC students have scrambled to replace textbooks and study resources destroyed in the blaze.

"This is only a small setback," school captain Cameron Shamsabad told the Star.

"We were a very proud school before this and it's only brought us closer together."

Vice-captain Taylor Vaughan added: "It's not the bricks and mortar that make a school — it's the community."

It's expected to take 18 months for the damaged building block to be rebuilt.

"It means a significant upgrade in technology infrastructure to 21st century learning standards because we're starting from scratch," Mr Presland said.

He has been inundated with help not only from neighbouring schools but also across NSW.

"We've had a huge response, not just from public schools but the whole education community," Mr Presland said.

"The broader community has been overwhelming. The state and federal MPs have been in touch, we've had offers from McDonald's and St Marys RSL, while Bunnings held a barbecue for the teachers on Friday. It shows how much this school is engaged in the community."

■ HSC students return to school today (July 15), followed by the rest of the school tomorrow — and parents are invited to attend a briefing.

Of the 20 demountables installed on the sports field, two are for the library, several are staffrooms and the rest will be classrooms.

The school will use the sports field of the neighbouring primary school for PE sessions for the next 18 months while the building housing classrooms is rebuilt.

The school has called for donations of old photos and memorabilia from the first 20 years of the school after most of it was destroyed in the blaze.

This story A new beginning for St Clair High first appeared on St Marys-Mt Druitt Star.


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