While some districts started school on Monday, many returned after Harvey shut them down. Clear Creek ISD is part of the latter group, suffering flood damage to 44 out of 45 of its schools.

The facility hardest hit was Brookside Intermediate School in Friendswood, where students were excited for their second first day of the school year.

Flooding throughout Friendswood led to Brookside Intermediate School taking on more than six inches of water all over campus.

When they walked into their building Monday morning, messages of hope and encouragement greeted them in the form of yard signs, banners and chalk art.

“It’s just very inspiring and very, very touching,” says principal Lauren Ambeau.

Though the messages are simple and the chalk impermanent, the impact of the words on the sidewalk is profound Ambeau.

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“We feel love,” she says. “These kids deserve it. This community deserves it.”

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for her Friendswood school, which took on about six inches of water when Harvey rolled through. Just as debris torn out of the building fills dumpsters outside the building, debris fills yards in the neighborhoods where many of these kids live.

“We knew that we had to get them back, stay united,” says Ambeau. “I’m so proud of our district for making this happen.”

Parents, including Shannon Edwards, are proud too.

“We need to stay prideful and strong. We came through a lot,” she says, while dropping off her sixth-grader Kelly. “We’re just happy today.”

“I’m glad about seeing my friends back at school and my teachers,” adds Kelly.

When Brookside students returned to school on Monday, they were greeted by inspirational messages and a cheering section made up of teachers.

Teachers, such as Robert James, were just as excited to see students, especially after forging a lifelong connection in the flood.

“Once I got [my family] to safety and the kids on my street, then I went back out on the boats. It was a fantastic feeling to pull these kids out,” James says.

As of Monday, they’re all back together under the same roof. The building might still need some work, but students and staff say it is stronger than ever. It’s #BulldogStrong.