Australia: Flood-affected Fitzroy ready to start new school year

To start the new school year in Fitzroy Crossing, teachers who had been evacuated to Broome due to the flooding were flown back home by helicopter.

Just two days before the conclusion of the summer vacation, more than forty instructors embarked on the journey aboard an Air Force C-27J Spartan.

The military flight was a first-time adventure for the vast majority of the passengers. After the roads in the Kimberley region were washed away by flood waters, this is the only means to get into Fitzroy Crossing for the time being.

Fitzroy Valley High School is fortunate to have Sally Smee on staff as an early childhood educator.

Ms. Smee remarked that despite her anxiety about the flight, she found it to be a very exhilarating experience.

“Your boys [in the ADF] were simply incredible.”

The floods did not damage Fitzroy Valley High School; nevertheless, the school reopening after the summer vacation was uncertain because most of the faculty and staff were on leave outside the flood zone and could not return.

Nicola Angell, the school’s deputy principal, expressed her gratitude to the Air Force planes for making it possible for the school year to begin.

The school is considered to be the centre of the town. According to Ms Angell, “if you’re closed, the community can not function at an optimal level.”

“This is like going home to a big welcome, which is amazing,” said one student. “Valley High School is a large family.”

Three hundred pupils have enrolled in kindergarten till 12 at Valley High School.

After the devastating flooding, the returning staff wanted to ensure they did not put a strain on the limited resources available in their town.

Ms Angell explained that because they used an Air Force plane, each could transport enough food for two weeks without putting a strain on the local supply.

“The military staff members were wonderful people who were also generous and friendly. It was exactly like what you see in the movies.”

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