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Jones students return to class after fire destroys school

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By Audrey Esther, News INsite Team

Students across the metro returned to class today after several days of winter vacation. But for students at Jones High School, today's return to campus was a little different to say the least.

While most students might be a little anxious about returning from winter break, the students at Jones High School were for the most part excited about today's first official day of the semester.

What might normally be a noise nuisance on school grounds is a welcome distraction on the Jones High School campus.

During last month's ice storm a fire destroyed most of the high school and displaced more than 300 students.

Today, students returned to class in portable classrooms. Jones students will now shuffle between six portable classrooms and usable areas of the old high school. Senior Timothy Peoples says it's great to back to school.

"It just feels great to be back at school even though the old building is down," senior Timothy Peoples said. "It still feels the same we're still doing the same thing, learning the same way."

Workers, including administration worked round the clock, including Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, to have the portable buildings ready by this morning. Superintendent Mike Steele estimates Jones High will officially reopen its doors in two years.

"Our numbers are growing daily," Superintendent Mike Steele said. "People seem to want to move to Jones and we want to keep it going, and we want to expand and make it even better."

Despite the fire's extensive damage and because of a fire-proof safe, no school records were lost."

"Some of them need cleaning from the smoke damage, but we do have all records dating back to the 1920's," Steele said.

That's good news for graduating seniors like Timothy.

"We're just ready to graduate I guess you could say," Peoples said.

Even though school was canceled for about a week, students will only have to make up one additional day at the end of the semester.

Steele says the district's next major goal is to secure a location where students can have hot lunches.

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