"As the kids came in the door, they were smiling; they were excited to be here," District Superintendent Kyle Freeman said.
A familiar feeling, but many of these students are far from familiarity. With their homes destroyed, some are making long commutes to get to school.
The school's superintendent says it’s a fine line when trying to reach out to displaced students.
"We don't want to point our kids out and say, 'hey, this one's facing an especially difficult time.' Our goal would be to provide the opportunity for them to talk at their own comfort level," Freeman said.
Freeman says the tragedy is strengthening student and teacher relationships.
"We have teachers who are very aware of the students who are displaced. We still have a number of staff members who are displaced," he said.
"We've all gone through it together. It's a shared experience. A moment of tragedy with a lot of greatness," Jim Tallman, the high school’s band director, said.
Tallman has been commuting from Chillicothe and won't move into his new home until this November. He uses his situation to reach many of his students.
"Some will talk about the frustrations but some talk about the excitement, you know, as their new house is going up," he said.
The new school year is signaling a fresh start in Washington, but the teachers and staff just want students to get back to business as usual.
"The sadness is happened. Let's get on. You know, the rebuilding is a good way through it, and have that sense of normality to go through the whole school and community," Tallman said.
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