Local News

Students, Teachers Reaching Out To Fire Victims

Posted April 8, 2005 6:26 a.m. EDT

— Students at a Durham elementary school are learning a lesson in life and loss this week after a fire destroyed 20 units at Royal Oaks Apartments.

Eleven of the fire's youngest victims are students at Forest View Elementary School, where students and teachers are trying to help their classmates get back on their feet.

Fred Parker is one of the victims.

"I have dreams about it," Fred said of the fire. "One boy said he'd give me money and clothes."

Fred's classmates have been asking him about the fire all week. They have also been reaching out.

"Everybody was really, really sad," said Alex Dubois, Fred's classmate.

Paula Januzzi's class is collecting money for the families.

"They don't have toothbrushes. They can't take a bath or have clothes," Januzzi said. "We should help them be happy, not sad. I think these kids are amazing."

Teachers have taken food and clothing to the motel where families are staying.

Forest View's principal said the school is not a relief agency, but when students are worrying about their families after a tragedy, they are not concentrating on school.

By helping out the families, the principal said, the school is keeping the children on track in the classroom.

"My mom told me to concentrate on school," Fred said, "and everything would be all right."