The Rivers College - Richmond River High Campus during the flooding.
The Rivers College - Richmond River High Campus during the flooding. Marc Stapelberg

Schooled to recovery: moving on from the flood

SIX months on and two Lismore high schools say they are close to "business as usual" as their Year 12 students prepare to sit their final exams following an eventful year.

Trinity Catholic College and The Rivers College - Richmond River High Campus were among the many local schools that were completely inundated with water and suffered extreme damages to school facilities cause by the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie.

Now half a year later, they both say they are slowly making their way to a full recovery.

Principal of Richmond River High Campus, Mary-Jane Pell said staff worked extremely hard to get the school operating as it was prior to the flood.

"The school is running as if the flood never happened, but of course we are still taking care of our young people in terms of we are very aware of the impact it has had on young people," Ms Pell said.

"As far as the physical buildings are going, all the rooms are operational some of them don't have floor coverings because we chose to get them cleaned up and taken back to bare boards or cement in order to have the rooms functional as quickly as possible."

Principal of Trinity College, Brother John Hilet said grounds wise the college still has a long way to go.

"We had quite a lot of damage but part of the reason we are not fully back on track is because we're not going to put it back exactly the way it was."

"We have still got about 10 classrooms that aren't reopened but we are coping."

Following the flood the school experienced issues with cross contamination of ground soil which Brother Hilet said is close to being resolved.

"The St Joseph's site has been rehabilitated, all the affected soil has been removed and it's been returfed."

"The St Mary's site is actually been done these holidays, they have just finished in the last couple of days digging up across the front of the site and a couple of places in the school ground which has been fenced off."

He said repair costs for the school are expected to be in the millions.

All repairs and rebuilds to the either school are said to not have affected students study into the lead up to the HSC exams.

Ms Pell said her Year 12 students seem to be optimistic and fairly confident about everything.

"To be honest, in the recognition of their Year 12 graduation the flood was simply mentioned, as something that happened."

Brother Hilet said their Year 12 students were among the first back on campus following the March flood.

"In terms of missed school time and lost resources they are probably less affected than some of the junior students because their resources were all well above the flood level."

He said he doesn't think the year group as a whole will receive any bonus points, however there may be specific individuals who were massively effected by the flood who will receive special consideration.

Don't miss the Flood Recovery feature in The Weekend Star tomorrow.  

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