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Edgecombe County Students Cope With Aftermath Of Hurricane Floyd

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EDGECOMBE COUNTY — Edgecombe County schoolswere hit hardest by Floyd's floods. BothPatilloand Princeville Elementary schools were destroyed. Students are coping with substitute schools and the promise of something better.

Princeville Montessoristudents arrive at school happy, ignoring the inconvenience of one more school day in trailers. Rainy days can be the worst.

"We have to step in mud when we go out and go to the buses and go to the bathrooms," says student Markele Pettiway.

A year of change has affected third-grader Amber Gray. She is afraid of the crash and flash of thunder and lightning.

"She'll say, 'Momma, is the river going to rise again? I get kind of scared to talk to her,'" says LaToya Gray, Amber's mother.

Gray says Princeville School is her daughter's safe place. There is work to do, schedules to follow, words to read and math to remember. Last year's floods are something to forget.

Temporary trailers provided a haven for Princeville students and teachers when they really needed it. This week, the school board says the students are heading back to the regular classrooms.

"We are very excited. We're going to share it with the children," says principal Mary Odom. "We're going to let them know that we're making plans to bring them over."

The school has larger classrooms with new supplies and a convenience everyone took for granted.

"For the past year, our children have had to go outside to the bathrooms. Each classroom will have a bathroom," Odom says.

Patillo Elementary students will remain in trailer classrooms all this year. Edgecombe County's Redirections Day Treatment program was flooded out of the Tar River Learning Center. It is now at the Nash-Rocky Mount Teacher Resource Center.


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