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[Last] week, we welcomed back Webster students, staff and families. While it is important to acknowledge that west and east Malibu were impacted differently, the impact on the entire community is not one that I have to describe. Everyone was impacted directly or indirectly: evacuated, displaced, seen images of familiar places up in flames, had friends or neighbors stay with them, lose power, lost everything. In a town that knows the danger of fires well, and is prepared for fires better than most, I don’t think anyone could fully prepare for the reality we are currently facing.
I strongly believe that our schools will be part of the healing process. I truly hope that JCES, PDMSS and MHS get to have a similar experience to the one we experienced this week at Webster. There was a true excitement, a wonderful energy and noise that only our resilient children could provide, and a genuine sense of community. It truly was a great day, equal to if not better than the first day of school experience.
Our schools provide a safe place for our kids (ages 4-18), one where they have a sense of control and accomplishment. During the coverage of the fire, MHS students and alumni have reflected on their school, their community.
In an article published in “The Poly Post,” one alumna wrote, “Malibu is a small place where everyone knows everyone and never in the three years I attended MHS had I seen such a sense of community and love.” Similar sentiments were echoed by many in news articles, social media posts and GoFundMe pages in support of our educators.
These sentiments should remind us of the importance of our schools and why it is so important for our schools to open and our students to get back into a routine. Our schools are special places and the relationships between students and students, students and staff, and staff and families are one unique to our small town.
I am appreciative of the hundreds of people working to get our schools open and am looking forward to the healing and comfort they will provide very soon. Our community is full of special people with a can-do attitude and we will overcome the current devastation, stronger and better.
Patrick Miller, Webster Elementary School principal