East Ipswich State School students Eric Thornes, year 7, and Jodie Morrison, year 3, are grateful to receive free school gear after losing theirs in floods.
East Ipswich State School students Eric Thornes, year 7, and Jodie Morrison, year 3, are grateful to receive free school gear after losing theirs in floods. David Nielsen

Battered school makes new start

EAST Ipswich State School has been described as a skeleton of its former self, but that hasn’t stopped students and teachers getting on with the job.

The 2011 school year was pre-empted by a disastrous flood which wiped out seven classrooms in three separate blocks, including the groundsman’s shed.

A piano and other musical instruments were among the priceless items that were wrecked and had to be discarded.

The After School Hours Care building, which is run by the school’s P&C, was completely wiped out.

Principal Debbie Hansen said while members of the community and Education Queensland had done a phenomenal job in getting classrooms ready for the first day, it would be several months until the school returned to its old self.

“We had a huge number of volunteers after the flood joining in the clean-up,” Ms Hansen said.

“We had working bees with 20 people shovelling out garden beds, sweeping and moving furniture.

“That kind of thing makes you proud to be an Aussie.”

It was estimated that about 180 of the school’s 520 students were directly affected by the floods, although Ms Hansen said some families had been “too proud” to ask for assistance and the real number could be higher.

“Some families have been unable to send their kids back to school this year,” she said.

Students whose families were affected were supplied uniforms and footwear business Williams provided 179 students with new shoes.

Among those to benefit from the generosity of the business community were students Jodie Morrison and Eric Thornes, whose family homes were both made unliveable.

Eric’s start to the 2011 school year has been unusual to say the least, with his family still calling an Ipswich motel home.

“School has been fun and people have been very generous,” he said.

School bags, books and pens have also arrived at the school’s donation room to help kids that were affected.

“About 40 per cent of our school population – our families – has been directly affected by the floods themselves,” Ms Hansen said.

“We’ve tried as much as possible to normalise things for students; not to make too big a hype.”



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