Yesterday there was a terrible April Fool's joke. Around 3 in the morning, a fire broke out at a high school in Albany, OR, destroying a building that housed the cafeteria, band, choir and other rooms. I know many people who went to this school, including my husband. While an arsonist has been arrested in this case, it doesn't fix the damage.
While the devastation to the building itself is terrible, what really strikes me is how it hurts these kids, teachers, employees, and alumni. Choir music that had been collected for years, gone. Band equipment, gone. Dance and cheer uniforms, gone. These kids who explore the arts will be some of those hurting the most. Rumor is the drummer for the band, Journey, is going to donate a large sum to replace lost band equipment! That is truly wonderful, and a small light at the end of a dark, fire-damaged tunnel. Parents will be struggling to replace personal band instruments. I played saxophone in high school and I feel for these students. Music is a treasure, and musical instruments are not cheap!
Aside from the music programs that are hurt, there is the entire cafeteria gone as well. South Albany High School not only fed students at their school, but several other schools in the city. The other schools with kitchen facilities scrambled to help out, and several businesses even jumped in to donate food, but this will be a long-term problem.
The kids will go back to school next week, and I hope they can look past the charred remains and see hope instead of devastation. No one was injured in the fire, and things can always be replaced. The community has come together, and a tighter bond may form because of this. Pray for these students to keep strong, for the faculty and staff to keep brave, smiling faces on, and for the alumni to cherish their memories.
Funds have been set up to help the school recover.
You can donate at: http://www.albanypublicschoolsfoundation.org/
View the Albany Democrat Herald article here: http://democratherald.com/news/local/fire-destroys-south-albany-cafeteria-band-and-choir-rooms/article_3c1568c5-9bc2-5bfb-850f-5f5c4e3a7579.html