Chico, Calif. — Students at Paradise High School are trying to move forward after thedevastated their community. About 900 of the 980 young people who attend the school lost their homes.
“Our kids, the first thing they told us from day one is, ‘How do I get back together with my friends?” said Larry Johnson, vice principal at Paradise High School. “‘Where can I go where I’m back in the classroom with Ms. Partain or Mr. Woodman’ — you know some of these other amazing teachers. That’s what they want.”
Paradise High School is still standing after the fire, but there’s no power or water. Students are learning in temporary classrooms.
This isn’t the first time Johnson has faced challenges. He was injured in 2006 during an IED attack in Iraq, and one of his fellow Marines died.
“I’m fortunate just to be here. Everything happens for a reason and I feel like maybe I made it so I could be here,” Johnson said.
The mission for him now is to ensure no one falls behind.
“It’s going to change their entire lives,” Johnson said. “There’s not one person that went through this that will be the same. I believe for the large majority this will by far and large make them much stronger people. I do believe that because that’s the type of community we have, where there’s a challenge that happens for somebody but they work through it and become stronger and better because of it.”
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