DENHAM SPRINGS, LA (WAFB) - The once vacant lot next to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church looks like a construction zone, but inside the makeshift classrooms are about 34 Denham Springs Elementary teachers hard at work.
They're moving full speed to get their rooms ready for the first day of school, which will be Monday, February 6. This is the third "first day" this school year. Denham Springs Elementary was displaced following the August 2016 flood. Over 300 students were split up, learning at three different locations, until last Friday. Principal Gale Delee said students have been attending class at Fresh Water Elementary, East Side Elementary, and North Side Elementary for the past six months.
"All of that work. Weekends and holidays and summers. Every summer we come and plan for the next year and think of three years down the road, but all of that is gone," said second grade teacher, Tessa Simmons.
The teachers have been taught a valuable lesson about giving, because they are starting from scratch. One teacher said she lost thousands of dollars in classroom supplies. Simmons adds that during this time of rebuilding, they've been given a helping hand. "Everything in this room has been given to me and it's just amazing," she said.
Necessities like pencils, scissors, or the ABCs that hang on the wall, were all anonymously donated. "People that don't even know us, that have just given out of the generosity of their hearts," said kindergarten teacher, Betsy Corley.
Teachers said it's that lesson of giving and loving those around you that they want to pass along to students. "I've been changed. I want to give whatever I can to help because this has just been tremendous," adds Simmons.
According to administrators, it remains unclear how long they will be at the temporary location, stating it could be for the next 18 months to three years. Administrators also told 9News the Livingston Parish Public School System is "still working with flood recovery experts to assess the structural damage to the Denham Springs Elementary campus on Range Avenue."