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Despite flooding, nearly all Windham Central schools reopen on time

Wardsboro was last to reopen this week, students and staff cope with post-Irene disruptions

TOWNSHEND—The majority of students who attend Leland & Gray Union High School live in towns hard hit by flooding by Tropical Storm Irene.

But last week, students from Brookline, Dover, Jamaica, Marlboro, Newfane, Stratton, and Wardsboro found their way to Townshend as the 2011-12 school began.

And all but one of the Windham Central Supervisory Union’s elementary schools opened Sept. 6.

The exception was Wardsboro Elementary, which didn’t open until Sept. 12.

“Everyone expected is here,” said Windham Elementary School Principal John Doty last Tuesday, adding that relief plans are in the making for flood-affected students.

At Townshend Elementary School, administrative assistant Heidi Russ said students were served free breakfast and lunch on opening day. “We had about 90 percent of the students show up for breakfast,” Russ said.

“I think everyone is here,” said Melanie Keiser, administrative assistant at NewBrook Elementary in Newfane. She advised those wishing to donate any kind of relief to contact the Congregational Church in Newfane, 802-365-3079.

Marlboro Elementary School Principal Francie Marbury said she believed everyone had made it to school last Tuesday, noting that poor conditions on Augur Hole Road, where nine students live, required new bus routes.

The rest of the kids have to get by passable roads to the old store site in Williamsville, where they will be picked up and transported to school.

She said also that no specific plans for donations have been made, but that those wishing to donate should call the school at 802-254-2668.

Jamaica Elementary sits beside the West River, but on high ground. It got through Irene fine, while the town suffered some major flood damage on Aug, 28, and then faced another flash flood on Sept. 1 in Rawsonville that damaged another home and some streets.

Principal Laura Hazard explained that bus routes were shifted so that all kids could either get to the bus or the bus could get to them.

The school has started a food drive, Hazard said, and is planning a spaghetti supper at the school, although no date has been set.

“Abbey Group, our food service, is donating all the food,” she said.

Anyone wishing to donate to the food drive may call the school at 802-874-4822.

At Leland & Gray, the school is providing a free hot breakfast for all students through the first two weeks of school to relieve some of the stress at home. School officials say this will cost approximately $100 per day.

If donations permit, they said they will also provide lunch and continue free meals as long as possible.

For more information or to make a donation, contact principal Dorinne Dorfman , by e-mail or at 802-365-7355.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #118 (Wednesday, September 14, 2011).

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