Relocated students adjust to new Pitt. Co. schools after Matthew

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Pitt County Schools are back in session after being closed during Hurricane Matthew and teachers are trying to keep things as normal as possible for some students who are adjusting to different schools after being displaced.

While educators are working to get back into a routine, some things are a little different.

In Shantel Hawkin’s fourth grade class, it’s in the form of a new student.

“I didn’t go into why he was placed into the classroom, but just giving him warm greetings and love will help him to become acclimated to the classroom,” Hawkins said.

Lakeforest Elementary as a whole has six new students, all who have been displaced thanks to Hurricane Matthew.

Hawkins said she doesn’t know her new student’s story and won’t ask until he tells her. She said she will do the same thing for the entire class.

“I will be sensitive to their needs first as students, getting them back in routine and let them naturally share that way,” said Hawkins.

In the meantime, Hawkins will focus on learning, which she thinks will help her students recover after Matthew.

“If they’re back into routine, and it’s consistently, then they won’t dwell on maybe what they saw, but they will be back in a safe environment,” Hawkins said.

The school system is still trying to figure out exactly how many students were displaced, and they should have a better idea as the week continues.

“They’re following up, calling, trying to get in touch with them seeing if they’re safe, if they’ve been displaced,” said Travis Lewis Pitt County Schools director of community and student services. “Some students we didn’t hear back from or we didn’t have accurate phone numbers for.”

In an effort to help students, a community share event is being held at Wellcome Middle School Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 ,p.m.

Families of students at schools north of the river that have been affected by recent events are encouraged to come and pick up free items and supplies. They will also serve free hot dogs.

Donations for the community share event can be brought to any of the north of the river schools including North Pitt High, Wellcome Middle, and Bethel and Stokes elementary schools.

Donations must be made before October 22, and large donations should be brought directly to Wellcome Middle School between 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Friday or Saturday between 7:15 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The following items can be donated: prepackaged/canned food, bottled water, school supplies, cleaning supplies, toiletries, gently used furniture/textiles, clothes (already bagged and sorted by men’s/women’s/girl’s/boy’s), baby and kid items, school uniforms (all sizes from elementary to high school/colors: black white, navy).

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