Life is hard enough for any teen or pre-teen — trying to get good grades, trying out for a sport or just trying to fit in — but losing your hometown school makes it even harder.
Following Hurricane Sandy, East Rockaway High School was deemed nonoperational. Since mid-November, ERHS students have attended classes at two Baldwin elementary schools while their school undergoes repairs. Students in grades seven and eight go to Milburn Elementary, while ninth-through-12th graders attend the larger and older Shubert Elementary. The two schools have been closed since June and are currently being leased to the East Rockaway School District.
“It could have been much worse,” ERHS senior Vincent Arena said of his relocation to Shubert. “We’re all very grateful that we weren’t separated from each other. If we were sent to different schools without our teachers and classmates we’ve grown up with, the transition would have been tremendously harder than just moving schools.”
One of the other major changes for East Rockaway junior and senior high students — and their parents — has been getting up earlier to catch the buses to Milburn and Shubert. Those who live north of Main Street in East Rockaway report to East Rockaway High each morning at 6:45 to meet the buses, while students who live south of Main Street do the same at the Rhame Avenue Elementary School parking lot, and get dropped off at Bay Park in the afternoons.
“It’s hard for the kids,” said the mother of a seventh- and 10th-grader, who declined to give her name. “But it’s hard for the parents, too — making them lunches, getting everyone prepared, and still getting to our own jobs. But the kids seem to be dealing with it OK, better than I thought they would.”